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-B. B. 

The Old-Tirae "Darkie," And What 
Made Him Different 

That piece in the "'Round About 
Maryland" section of this column last 
Wednesday about John-The-Baptist 
Hemsley, the 93-year-old "darkie" of 
Charles county who had recently died, 
I spoke of the respect in which he was 
held by white people and gave him 
credit for being "poUte, honest and 
upright." That was why he was re- 
spected. Many of the oldtime "darkies" 
in air parts of Maryland were. Don't 
I remember old "Aunt Millie" at Elk- 
ton, and "Ned" Thomas, and "Will" 
Boulden and all the rest of. them— 
"darkies" who were born moiri^ in the 
purple than in the black and who 
acted always in their place, with 
courteous allegiance to the whit^^ — 
up-startish, presumptuous con 
and the old ones so devoted, so' 
so lovable in their traits of serv 
the families they considered the 
longed to! It was a great era f« 
colored' folk— the best and ha; 
they ever had known or will kn 



Ro/ie. Book 
ColtzcZloYi 





OTJert^ifn m . Sterne J^ibrar^ 
^niiierstt^ of oHlabama in Joirmin^ham 




I 




PROF. KELLY MILLER. 



Kelly Nliller Dies; 
Former Howard U. 
Aris College Dean 



Associated With School 
Almost 50 Years as 
Student and Teacher 

Kelly Miller, former dean of the 
college of arts and sciences and re- 
tired professor of sociology at How- 
ard University, whose mathematical 
proficiency and writings made him 
one of the outstanding Negro edu- 
cators of the day, died yesterday at 
his home, 2225 Fourth street N.W., 
after a week's illness following a 
heart attack. He -was 76 years ago. 

Associated with Howard as stu- 
dent and teacher for almost 50 
years, Prof. Miller was instrumental j 
in bringing the school to its present : 
position of prominence among Ne- 
gro institutions of learning. Dean 



of the col^.ege ot af^ and sciences 
from 1907 to 1918, he later served 
as professor of sociology, devoting 
his talents to problems of the Ne- 
gro race. 

Since his retirement in 1934 Prof. 
Miller had spent much of his time 
developing the university's library 
section dealing with the Negro race 
and writing for newspapers and pe- 
riodicals. 

Native of South Carolina. 

Born in Winnsborn, S. C, July 18, 
1863, Prof. Miller "as the son of 
Kelly and Elizabe > Miller. His 
father was a freed slave. He evi- 
denced an unusual precocity while 
attending school in his home State, 
and showed sUch an aptitude for | 
mathematics that his family sent ) 
him to Washington to attend How- ' 
ard Preparatory School. 

He was graduated from the uni- j 
versity in 1886 with a B. A. degree, | 
attended the gfeduate school of i 
Johns Hopkins University for two j 
years, and returned to Howard to | 
receive his master's degree in 1901. i 
For several months thereafter he i 
taught in the newly-founded Wash- f 
ington high school. [ 

Prof. Miller began teaching at I 
Howard while still studying for his 
master's degree, was made a regular 
member of the faculty in the early 
90s, and supervised a committee ap- 
pointed at that time to revamp the 
curriculum of the school. 
Began Writing. 

During his term as dean of the 
college of arts and sciences, he 
taught and headed the department 
of mathematics. He later trans- 
ferred to the department of sociol- 
ogy, and became distinguished as a 
logician and thinker and began the 
writings which made him famous. 

Among his works were "Race Ad- 
justment," published in 1908, and 
"Out of the House of Bondage," 
printed in 1914, both later being 
used as sociology texts in many uni- 
versities. Among his many pam- 
phlets was one entitled "The Dis- 
grace of Democracy," an open letter 
to President Wilson, which ran to 
more than 250,000 copies and was 
printed in the Congressional 
Record. 

Subsequently, Prof. Miller was 
made a member of the American 
Academy of ' Political and Social 
Sci^jcg, the American SociolQgicaJj 



Society, the American Association, 
for the Advancement of Science, 
the National Educational Associa- 
tion, the American Negro Academy 
and the Walt Whitman Interna- 
tional Fellowship. 

Most Distinguished Alumnus. 

He was regarded as Howard 
University's most distinguished 
alumnus, 

I Informed of his death yesterday, 
jMordecai Johnson, president of 
/Howard University;., said, "Prof 
I Miller will be grea'^y missed, par- 
jticularly by Howard University, 
I where he ran the gamut of edu- 
j cation from the school's infancy 
to its present status." 
j He is survived by his widow, Mrs. 
f Annie May Miller; two sons, Dr. 
I Kelly Miller, jr., of New York City 
and Paul Butler Miller of Washing- 
ton; two daughters, Mrs. Irene M. 
Reid and Miss May Miller, both of 
this city, and a brother, Robert G 
Miller of Winnsboro. 

Funeral services will be held at 1 
p.m. Tuesday in Andrew Rankin 
Memorial Chapel at Howard Uni- 
versity, with burial in Lincoln Me- 
morial Cemetery. 




AN EX-SLAVE PASSES AWAY 



"Uncle Henry" 



Thomas Henry Butler, a former 
slave, owned by the late Dominic 
Mudd, of near White Plains, Charles 
County, Md., died at the residence 
of Mr. and Mrs. Harry A. Sweeney, 
near Actokeek, Md. on Monday, Oct. 
23rd. 

He was nine years old when set 
free by the Proclamation — ^having 
been born Oct. 5, 1852, near White 
Plains. He was the son of the late 
Harry and Rebecca Butler. Soon af- 
ter the slaves were set free he went 
to Washington where he stayed until 
he became of age. Forty-seven years 
ago he went to work for the late 
Thomas M. Underwood, where he re- 
mained until 1919 when Mr. Under- 
wood retired. 

"Uncle Henry," as he was familiar- 
ly known, then went to live in a small 
bungalow on the farm of Mr. and Mrs. 
Sweeney, and here he stayed 21 years 
— working on the farm until a few 
years ago. 

He was a type of the colored race 
that is fast passing away. He knew 
his place and was well thought of by 
many prominent people. "The whites 
are better to me than the colored" 
was a familiar expression with him. 

He was honest and God-fearing and 
lived up to his faith, that of a Roman 
Catholic, and received his last com- 
munion a very short while before j 
passing away. He was married twice 
and the father of 16 children — ^both 
wives and 13 children predeceasing 
him. 

His funeral was held Wednesday 
at St. Mary's Church, Piscataway, 
with Rev. John Horstcamp officiating. 

Uncle Henry was devoted to his , 
young mistress, "Miss Sally" as he ! 
called Mrs. Sweeney. She adminis- 
tered to his wants through a colored 
man, and personally gave him his 
medicine. 



DEATH OF JOHN WELDON 



John Weldqn, one of the 
widely and favorably known men of 
his class and rdce in Prinee Georo-e's 
County, Maryland, died - at 



five 
o'clock last B*rklay morning, June 

19, 1925, in the cottage which about 
|three years ago he. bad , himself 
;buil ^in which to pas s his remaining 
I yearrwitThiT^^^ifQ^ -|^ 4^-<>^ 
John was born a slave on the 
"Maple Shade Farm," Bowie Dis- 
trict, on the 25th of April, 1853, 
his master having been Robert 
Bowie, Esquire, who was the son of 
Mr. and Mrs. Walter W. W. Bowie. 
Fifty years ago he married "Minty" 

ackson, who, with ten of their 
twelve children, survives Him. He 
way? orphaned at ten yearg . of age 
and\ from that time until ' three 
year^ago, when he .b^|^e disabled 
to woVk regularly, his life was one 
of unVeasing toil. Possessing a 
naturallV bright intellect and an in- 
dustriousX hent,' he ran the gamut 
Irom stably boy, carriage driver, 
general farla hand, farm ..tenant, 
and finally purchasing a small farm 
near his bii\h place. Seventeen 
years ago he soVd his farm, but, not 
seeking office a\ so many of his 
race do, he continued in industrial 
pursuits. He spent tlW remainder of 
his active days in building, o-eneral 
carpenter's work, etc. All the labor 
he performed was characterized by 
its excellence and the conscien- 
tiousness With which it was uni- 
formwly done. He found no need 
to leave his own neighborhood to 
join the mad rush of these later 
times for the cities for employment, 
his services being in constant de- 
mand and eagerly availed of by his 
white "home folk." 



As a result oF^is^ndusfry and 
thrift, he accumulated a modest corn- 
most P^tencj^ sufficient to support himself 
and his wife after his productiTe 
days were over. His example should 
have been an inspiration to the 
colored people generally in our 
county, who, however, have not al- 
ways appreciated^ and more rarely 
have followed, the good advice which 
he so frankly gave though he was' 
a leader among them. 

John was preeminently a sturdy 
product of the "Old South." He was 
of a singularly kindly disposition, 
scrupulously honest ,fair and re- 
liable in' all of his dealings, gener- 
ous, charitable, and neighborlj^ to 
a fault. His polite and affable man- 
ners always retained for him the 
universal respect of his white neigh-' 
bors, to whom he ever remained 
loyal, and away from whom he never! 
grew. The esteem in which he was 
held also by members of his own 
race was attested by their unusually 
large attendance at liis funeral, ' 
which was conducted by the Knights' 
of St. John 283, of which he was a 
[member, there being also present a 
large representation from Knio-htsj 
of St. John 109 and the "Women's; 
Auxiliary of Washington, D. C. He! 
was buried on las^t Monday morning } 
in his family lot at the Catholic ' 
Church of the Ascension, Bowie, the 
mass being said by the rector. Rev. 



F. H. Kreis, S. J. 



D. B. L. 



A—v^ 2 6 



/fiL^C 



Books And Things 

By Lewis Gannett 
Twentieth-Century America 



LANiCiSTON HUGHES once said 
to Wallace Thurman: "If I could 
feel as bad as you do all the time 
I would surely produce some won- 
derful books." Thurman an- 
swered that you had to know 
how to write as well as how to 
feel bad, Langston Hughes re- 
torted that he didn't have to know . 



Poetry is not, ordinarily, re- 
munerative. So Langston Hughes 
worked as a delivery boy in Chi- 
cago (and was beaten up for wan- 
dering into a neighborhood whose 
gangs disapproved of colored in- 
terlopers); as a hand on a Greek 
truck farm on Staten Island; as a 
JMssen^gr_b,OY for.. lixoxley^.lhe 



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RUI* «o»»r» amirkist.MTTu n::>i/r>m«>Sioiiit> < wl mnJI 31)6111 SI 331103 giOIZJO AEttt 



James Weldon Johnson. 

James Weldon Johnson, Negro poet 
and philosopher, must not be permitted 
to depart from the American scene un- 
noticed. He was a figure of distinction, 
a character of well-deserved celebrity, a 
man of authentic genius and of com- 
pelling charm. His natural modesty kept 
him from the glare of the spotlight, yet 
his name and his work were widely 
known and respected. From 1916 to 1930 
he was secretary of the National Asso- 
ciation for the Advancement of Colored 
People, doing invaluable service for the 
white as well as the black race — a con- 
structive labor the effect of which could 
not be praised too generously. 

Mr. Johnson was a reformer, not a 
rebel. He believed in slow attainment 
of humane objectives because he was 

convinced that r^pid progress is largely 
wasted. Revolutionary doctrines fright- 
ened him. He was timid about taking 
chances with violence. It was part of 
his faith that his people must earn the 
improvement of their condition which 
he so keenly desired. His verse, in 
common with his sociological essays, was 
rational. If bitterness crept into his 
writings, no one deplored its intrusion 
more than he. His "Autobiography of 
an Ex-Colored Man" is an appeahng 
document, perhaps on account of its re- 
serve, its reticence. There were many 
things that he disciplined himself not 
to write. 

Naturally enough, a number of doors 
were closed to him the while he lived; 
but now, dead in a highway accident; he 
is free of the handicap of any prejudice. 
He should take his place in literature 
with Paul Lawrence Dunbar and in the 
service of his country with Frederick 
Douglass. Like them, he was a credit 
to humanity at large. 



to 



Tribute Paid to Woric 

Of James Weldon Johnson. 

To the Editor of The Star: 
'Y*HE sudden death of James Weldon 
Johnson, noted man of letters, music 
composer, lawyer, teacher, diplomat and 
statesman, occasioned the loss to Amer- 
ica of one of its foremost champions of 
democracy. Although he worked in the 
South, he always had to get away to 
the freer environment of New England 
to refresh his, spiritual life and recreate 
himself. Some day more Americans 
will become humanely educated, more 
tolerant and sympathetic enough to 
realize the terrible prison in which 
liberty-loving colored American exi 
who for reason of service or birth wor 
in the South. 

James Weldon Johnson protest^K^nd 

fought all of his life for a recogintion of | 

manhood based upon chajrS,cter and i 

achievement. He, himself, ■mad no diffi- ! 

culty in being recognized as of superior j 

mold, regardless of race, wherever con- I 

tacts afforded him a fair expression of i 

his worth. He knew and felt, however, i 

the sufferings of the Negro. He rode in j 

and suffered all of the indignities and ; 

humilities of Jim Crow cars on a first- \ 

class ticket when on his mission of j 

service. ; 

In the world of the stage and music ! 
he was largely instrumental in winning ■ 
a place for the Negro. It was with ■ 
doubt and fear that he and his brother 
put a musical show on Broadway that ' 
was on a plane with the best. It suc- 
ceeded and thereafter they wrote and ! 
produced music that the entertainers ; 
of other races paid dearly to get. His i 
was the battle of that day that paral- I 
lels the battering of the Negro at the ' 
gates of the prejudices that prevent him i 
from being represented today in the [ 
movies except as a domestic, a lazy ' 
comedian, a jazz band artist or a tap '• 
dancer. Not that any part played well ; 
on the stage of life is not a respected ; 
calling, but In that an intolerant minor- 
ity can prevent the picturizatioh ' 
through the Negro of more cultural 
values lies the social ill that Johnson 
fought during his useful life. 

While brothers still fight brothers in [ 
Spain, and at a time when our own \ 
heroes at last make peace at Gettys- 
bjirg, we of this generation need to ' 



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I James Weldon Johnson. 

James Weldon Johnson, Negro poet 
and philosopher, must not be permitted 
to depart from the American scene un- 
noticed. He was a figure of distinction, 
a character of well -deserved celebrity, a 
man of authentic genius and of com- 
pelling charm. His natural modesty kept 
him from the glare of the spotlight, yet 
his name and his work were widely 
known and respected. From 1916 to 1930 
he was secretary of the National Asso- 
ciation for the Advancement of Colored 
People, doing invaluable service for the 
white as well as the black race — a con- 
structive labor the effect of which could 
not be praised too generously. 

Mr. Johnson was a reformer, not a 
rebel. He believed in slow attainment 
Of humane objectives because he- was 
convinced that r^pid progress is largely 
wasted. Revolutionary doctrines fright- 
ened him. He was timid about taking 
chances with violence. It was part of 
his faith that his people must earn the 
improvement of their condition which 
he so keenly desired. His verse, in 
common with his sociological essays, was ^ 
rational. If bitterness crept into his 
writings, no one deplored its intrusion 
more than he. His "Autobiography of 
an Ex-Colored Man" is an appealing 
document, perhaps on account of its re- 
serve, its reticence. There were many 
things that he disciplined himself not 
to write. 

Naturally enough, a number of doors 
were closed to him the while he lived; 
but now, dead in a highway accident, he 
is free of the handicap of any prejudice. 
He should take his place in literature 
with Paul Lawrence Dunbar and in the 
service of his country with Frederick 
Douglass. Like them, he was a credit 
to humanity at large. 



to 

)rin 



Tribute Paid to Work 

Of James Weldon Johnson. 

To the irditor of The Star: 
'pHE sudden death of James Weldon 
Johnson, noted man of letters, music 
composer, lawyer, teacher, diplomat and 
statesman, occasioned the loss to Amer- 
ica of one of its foremost champions of 
democracy. Although he worked in the 
South, he always had to get away to 
the freer environment of New England 
to refresh his^spiritual life and recreate 
himself. Some day more Americans 
will become humanely educated, more 
tolerant and sympathetic enough to 
realize the terrible prison in which 
liberty-loving colored American exi 
who for reason of service or birth wor 
in the South. 

James Weldon Johnson protest^R^nd I 
fought all of his life for a recogiCtion of ' 
manhood based upon cha/icter and 
achievement. He, himself, ■^ad no diffi- 
culty in being recognized as of superior j 
mold, regardless of race, wherever con- , 
tacts afforded him a fair expression of '■ 
his worth. He knew and felt, however, 
the sufferings of the Negro. He rode in 
and suffered all of the indignities and \ 
humilities of Jim Crow cars on a first- 
class ticket when on his mission of 
service. 

In the world of the stage and music 
he was largely instrumental in winning 
a place for the Negro. It was with 
doubt and fear that he and his brother 
put a musical show on Broadway that 
was on a plane with the best. It suc- 
ceeded and thereafter they wrote and ^ 
produced music that the entertainers 
of other races paid dearly to get. His , 
was the battle of that day that paral- i 
lels the battering of the Negro at the [ 
gates of the prejudices that prevent him \ 
from being represented today in the 
movies except as a domestic, a lazy I 
comedian, a jazz band artist or a tap 1 
dancer. Not that any part played well 
on the stage of life is not a respected 
calling, but in that an intolerant minor- 
ity can prevent the picturizatioh 
through the Negro of more cultural 
values lies the social ill that Johnson 
fought during his useful life. 

While brothers still fight brothers in i 
Spain, and at a time when our own ; 
heroes at last make peace at Gettys- 
burg, we of this generation need to ' 



further dedicate ourselves to the task ofl 
removing racial hatreds and their so- I 
cial concomitants — a job to which , 
James Weldon Johnson deVbted his life. I 
-v: . E. B, HENDERSON. j 

Palls Church, Va. t 



Frederick Douglass 

American Negroes this month are 
paying tribute to the memory of one 
who ranks with Lincoln and Wash- 
ington in their hearts. He is Freder- 
ick Douglass, sturdy champion of the 
colored race who rose from the bonds 
of slavery to be the United States 
Minister to Haiti. 

His career is particularly an in- 
spiration to the colored population 
of th€ Nation's Capital. For in 1877 
he was made a marshal of the Dis- 
trict and died here in 1895. A 
building on the Howard University 
campus perpetuates his memory. 

A lesser man than Douglass might 
have surveyed the suffering of his 
people in the days between his birth 
in 1817 and the Civil War and cried 
out with Hamlet, "The time is out 
of joint; O cursed spite, that ever I 
was born to set it right." Instead he 
faced his problem with courage and 
met the challenge of the situation. 
He escaped from slavery, taught him- 
self to read and write, became an 
orator for an abolitionist society. To 
reveal the evils of human servitude he 
VfTote his autobiography which Wen- 
dell Phillips, fearing it might cause i 
the return of Douglass to slavery, 
urged him to burn. 

During the war he worked hard 
to raise colored troops to fight for | 
the Union. A fine figure of a man ' 
personally, he will go down in the 
history of this country as one of the 
greatest of its colored citizens. 



BLACK DIAMOIsTDS. 



^ 



■4 



BLACI DIAMONDS 



GATHEKED IN THE 



DARKEY HOMES OF THE SOUm 



EDWARD A. POLLARD, 



OF VIRGINIA. 



^^ * > ^ » * ^ ^ 



PUDNET & RUSSELL, PUBLISHERS, 

No. 79 John-Street. 

1859. 



Eatered aocording to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, 
By PUDNEY & EUSSELL, 

la the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for tbe 
Southern Distiict of New-York. 



PREFATORY. 



The writer of these simple pages lias pre- 
pared them for publication from a collection, of 
hasty and unstudied letters, on the subject of 
slave life in the South, which were originally 
addressed to David M. Clarkson, Esq., " Glen- 
brook," Newburgh, IST. Y., a gentleman whose 
friendship is one among those in the JSTorth that 
he has greatly prized, and whose cultivated 
patriotism is of that broad and noble type that 
he has ever fervently admired. The letters 
are not elaborated : the author wrote them from 
what he found in his heart. Whether he shall 
add still further to them will depend upon the 
reception by the public of this humble offering. 



" SLAVE LIFE IN THE SOUTH."* 

In general we ai-e strongly averse to mixing up special questions in 
ethics or in politics with what is called polite hterature. Artistically 
viewed, we doubt whether the mixture is ever allowable. Even satiric 
poetry, we take it, forms no exception to the rule ; for it is the province 
of that species of literature to attack wickedness and folly from the 
standpoint of admitted Vnaxims of morality and wisdom, not to agitate 
debatable or unsettled problems. The introduction into the novel or 
poem of subjects pertaining to strict polemics or to severe philosophy, 
as the main purpose of the work, produces an incongruous association, 
which is never agreeable and is often disgusting. Who wants to read a 
novel designed to illustrate the beauties of free trade or a protective 
tariff? "Who does read Montgomery's maudlin poem, or Longfellow's 
sentimental cant in rhyme, on the awful sin of negro slavery ? Since 
the publication of Mrs. Stowe's " Uncle Tom's Cabin," which led the 
van of a frightful procession of books of a similar order on both sides 
of the slavery question, every reader of experience, taste, and discrimi- 
nation, is predisposed to turn with loathing from any issue from the 
press whose title page has a perceptible squinting toward the vexed 
and vexatious subject. He is inclined to avoid it as a premeditated 
bore and deliberate swindle — a delusion and a snare — a cunning 
" dodge," by which he may be made the victim of self-inflicted twaddle. 
Of course there is frequently much matter of pith and moment in the 
numerous books in which the discussion of the slavery question, in all 
or a few of its aspects, is thrown into the shape of stories or sketches. 
Indeed, there are some that touch the subject in a way so incidental 
and natural, and with so little of a partisan or disputatious spirit, that 
if the predisposition against them be once overcome, they may be read 
with equal entertainment and instruction. 

* From the New Orleans Bella, Editorial. 



Among the last productions to wliicli we allude, we unhesitatingly 
place a small and unpretending volume, being a series of short sketches 
of slave hfe in the South, in the form of letters originally addressed by 
the author, Edward A. Pollard, of Washington City, to his friend, 
David M. Clarkson, of Newburgh, Few York. 

The author appears to be a thorough Southerner in education, 
opinion, sympathy, and attachment ; yet, his letters are remarkably 
free from sectional prejudice and acerbity, and, in ti'uth, contain sketches 
that are amongst the most catholic, and tolerant, and genial, we ever had 
occasion to peruse. He would seem to have travelled much, to have 
observed much, and to know much of various countries and peoples. 
But the negro nature he es])ecially knows, profoundly, intimately; 
knows it, not by intellection merely, but also by heart ; knows it, not 
through the cold light of ethnological science only, but most of all, 
through the warm, enkindling recollections of boyhood and youth. 
The negro, who, in his true nature, is always a boy, let him be ever so 
old, is better understood by a boy, than by a whole academy of philos- 
ophers, unless the boy element in the said philosophers is unusually 
long-lived and prosperous. The author, in this case, guided by his boy- 
knowledge of the negro, cannot misconceive or untruthfully dehneate 
him. How appreciative, how loving, how tender and sympathetic, he 
is in his delineations, we will let a few extracts show. 



LETTER OF THANKS FEOM THE AUTHOR TO 
HORACE GREELEY, ESQ. 

Washington, June 20, 1859. 
HoEACE Gkeelet, Esq., 

Editor New-York Tribune. 

My Dear Sir : I undoubtedly owe you many thanks for the extra- 
ordinary and flattering marks of attention you have bestowed upon my 
little book of sketches of Slave Life in the South. You have not made 
them the subject of an ordinary " book notice." You have not bestowed 
upon them an obscure and stinted paragraph in the literary corner of the 
Tribune. But you have done me the honor of devoting along editorial 
to the special subject of the interest of my literary performance. That 
I have not acknowledged this extraordinary honor sooner has not been, 
I assure you, my dear sir, for lack of appreciation, but in waiting for 
occasion to mature wherein I might make my acknowledgments most 
properly to you. 

I was aware that the subject of my little book (the " almighty 
nigger ") was a tender one with you. I had, I must confess, also heard 
among the miserable, ignorant people of the South many bad accounts 
of you. You had been represented to rde as a curious old man, doting 
on " niggers," and deriding all white persons who fancied themselves 
superior to your idols. Indeed, report said, that you had taken your 
models for manners from the negroes, and that, in speaking of your 
superiors, you were in the habit of adopting that coarse insolence some- 
times displayed by Cuffy in adverting to white people at a distance. 

Can you then be surprised, sir, that, with such slanders of you made 
familiar to my mind, I should have heard with some degree of tremu- 
lousness that you had devoted a long editorial of criticism to my unob- 
trusive little book. I naturally concluded from the slanders current in 
relation to you that your criticism was very adverse ; first, because it was 

1# 



X LETTER TO HORACE GREELEY, ESQ. 

my misfortune to be born in the Soutli, and secondly, because I had 
propitiated neither political party by that coarse abuse which has 
heretofore been made the appanage of all the controvertists on the sub- 
ject of slavery. I had indeed sought to shun in my book anything that 
"was sectional in an odious sense. I had conceived the idea of regarding 
the negro as one of the most fruitful and innocent topics of our litera- 
ture, rather than as a firebrand of partisan controversy. Enough, 
however, was to be gathered from my pages to show that I did not 
sympathize with your own peculiar creed of nigger-idolatry. I there- 
fore feared that the subject of my little book had been tortured by you 
into a sectional discussion, and that you had, rather as the politician 
than as the man, visited your censure upon my humble and defenceless 
head. 

Judge my surprise — my great relief — my gratification, in fact, to 
find that, so far from treating my book with sectional acerbity, you 
had overlooked the vexed question in its literary featm-es, had com- 
mended its innocent beauties of sentiment, and had mentioned side by 
side with some of the touching tales of the classics, the little domestic 
stories it contains. You compliment its heartfulness ; you speak of 
the indulgence of the author in " the pleasures of memory," and say 
" the way in which he does it is creditable to his heart." I thank youj 
sir, for this ; for sincerity and tenderness I esteem no light virtues of 
style. But, sir, I am surprised to find you remark that you have not 
i-eceived a copy of the book. You appear to have praised it from 
detached passages you have seen in the press. One extract you par- 
ticularly distinguish in your praise, and you say of this : 

" It has been disintegrated, if we may say so, from the main work, 
and, in the highly respectable character of an Elegant Extract, is now 
making a fashionable tour through the newspapers. We trust that 
the Keverend Doctor Adams has seen this wandering small paragraph ; 
that it has rendered moist his venerable eyes, and warmed the cockles 
of his ancient heart." 

Sir, I can only say, in the fulness of my heart, that I shall imme- 



LETTER TO HORACE GREELEY, ESQ. XI 

diately supply you witli several newly-printed copies of my book 
■which you will observe I have done you the compliment of entitling 
" Black Diamonds," from a term which you have applied in your own 
criticism of it. And I trust, sir, that not only the "wandering small 
paragraph," but others of similar pathos may warm the cockles of your 
own heart, as well as that of Dr. Adams. 

The main object with which I wrote the pages you commend was to 
present some natural portraits of negro character. The tenor of your 
criticism shows to what degree you esteem me to have attained in that 
respect. And your judgment in this matter, my dear sir, I recognize 
as of extraordinary value, on account of your relations to the negro. 
You know the negro, not as myself from the distant observation of the 
master, but from the contact of companionship. You know him from 
mingling with him, and from brotherhood with him. Your criticism, 
therefore, I gladly and proudly accept as a judgment of the naturalness 
of my descriptions. 

In one respect of your article, you must allow me, my dear sir, to 
correct you in point of information. I am not, as you conjecture, an 
" impoverished office-holder."' Appearances, too, are only against me 
when you judge, that, of all the population of the federal metropolis, 
myself seems to be in the lowest spirits, " if we except Mr. James 
Buchanan." I am, thank you, sir, in tolerable spirits ; am not a mem- 
ber of the kitchen-cabinet ; am a plain man, without office of trust or 
profit ; and am fond of niggei's in my peculiar way, but without em- 
bracing in my affection for them free love, free wool, and " the forty 
thieves." 

In conclusion, I hope, my d^ar sir, that you will remember tha good 
words I have addressed you, should I again fall into your hands. When 
my Southern friends have warned me of your ire, I have invariably 
responded with good words of you. In this, I have taken a lesson from 
that sapient old negro. Uncle Junk, of whose wisdom I have given some 
brief account in my book. At one time, a minister was telling Uncle 



XU LETTER TO HORACE GREELEY, ESQ. 

Juak, to work him to repentance, how the devil tormented those who 
went to heU. Junk hoped that '* good Mass'r Debbie " wouldn't be so 
cruel. The minister re^Droved him for speaking of Satan in such polite 
terms. " Well, you see, Mass'r," replied the old negro, " no tellin' but 
de enemy might cotch me, and den I trust he remember as how I 
spoked of him perlitely, and jes de same as if he was a white man." 

I remain, Sir, 

Your obliged, humble servant, 

Edtvd. a. Pollard. 



CONTENTS. 



LETTER I. 



Macon, Georgia, one of the most Beautiful Cities of the South — Fort 
Hawkins — YincTille — The Pubhc Cemetery — The " Peculiar Insti- 
tution " — An Infamous Libel — Yankee Doughfaces — E"egro Portraits 
of Fiction-Writers mere Caricatures — Slavery in Various Aspects — 
An Unadulterated Negro — Aunt Debby — Her Eehgion — Anecdote of 
Cffisar — Aunt Debby a Coquette — The "VVhipping-Post and Slave 
Mart Abolition Bugbears — Illustrative Incident page 17 

LETTER 11. 

A Slave Auction — Prices of Slaves — Humanity of Masters — Uncle 
George, alias " Old Bones "- — A Beau Hickman in his Way — Cared 
for in his Old Age — Aunt Belinda, his Wife — Religious Bent of the 
Negro's Mind — Sam's Religious Experience — Negro Hymns and 
Chants — Negro Churches in Macon — Religious Services — Negro 
Funeral — The Grave of " Mammy" page 28 

LETTER III. 

Happiness, What constitutes it ? — Its Independence of External Con- 
ditions — The Slave as Happy as his Master — Life in California — Its 
Trials, Successes, and Reverses — Sympathy of Abolitionists entirely 
Sentimental — Montgomery's Poem, " The West Indies " — Its Poetic 
and Delusive Pictures of the Negro's Condition — Intimate and Genial 
Intercourse between the Southern Planter and his Slaves — " Brother 
Bromus," and Pleasants, the Colored Carriage-Driver — Practical 
Jokes PAGE 39 

. LETTER IV. 

Re-opening of the Slave Trade — Benefits which would result from it — 
Its Advantages to the Working Classes — An Objection to it met — 
The Slave Gentry — Their Affected Superiority over the Humbler 
Classes of the Whites — The Simple, Unadulterated Slave — Pompey, 
an Old Guinea Negro — His ■' Genteel " Wife — Anecdotes of Pom- 
pey PAGE 52 



XIV CONTENTS. 

LETTEE V. 

" Disunion Doctrine " — Importation of Africans not Necessarily a 
Violation of Law — Sufficiency of Labor a Vfant of the South — A 
Conservative Policy — Critical Stage in the Political History of the 
South — Let the Soutli Stand or Fall by the Constitution page 62 

LETTEE VI. 

A Round of Visits — Travelling on a Canal-Boat — One of the F. F. V.s 
— " Boistci'ous Bet" — A Peep into Bet's Album — Disembarkation — 
An Alabama Judge — "Sound on the Liquor Question" — Oakridge 
Farm — Early Associations — " Uncle Jeames," alias " Uncle Jimboo" 
— His Boy Tom — Aunt Judy — My Brother Dick — Our Juvenile Bat- 
tles — The Runaway brought back page 69 

LETTEE VII. 

Negro Slavery in the United States — Favorable Contrast with other 
Systems of Slavery — A Justification of it — The Story of Rienzi, an 
Illustration — Characteristics of the Slaves' Religion — Uncle Nash, 
the old Black Patriarch — His Death and Burial- Place page 81 

LETTEE VIII. 

The Physical Pains of Death — Recollections of a Death-Scene — Death 
of Aunt Marie, an Old Loved Slave — Angels in Human Form., page 90 

LETTEE IX. 

Worse than Idle to Argue with Abolitionists — Junk, the Cobbler — His 
Remarkable Stories of Foreign Travel — The Skepticism of Colin — 
Junk's Battle with Nutty — Trial and Summary Punishment. . .page 98 

LETTEE X. 

Perpetuity and Extension of Negro Slavery Considered — Tropical 
America — Manifest Destiny of the South — Course of Great Britain — 
The Monroe Doctrine — Walker's Nicaragua Expedition — Words of 
Southern Heroism page lOG 

LETTEE- XI. 

A Christian Ghost Story — Little Sister Rosalie — Her Early Death — The 
Stories of Aunt Matilda — A Message from Spirit Land — Sickness — 
A Vision , page 115 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 



LETTER I. 



Macon, Georgia, 1858. 

My dear C : I engaged to write you from the 

South, and I take the earliest opportunity to date my 
correspondence from Middle G-eorgia. But I should not 
fail to drop you a line or two, at start, of Macon, where 
I write, as it is accounted one of the most beautiful 
cities of the South, and has many objects of interest. 
It is the seat of several public institutions, but has very 
little trade. Near by the city, on a commanding posi- 
tion, stands Fort Hawkins, a rude wooden building, 
which was constructed as a protection against the In- 
dians ; for you must know that Macon was about the 
frontier of G-eorgia in 1818. An Indian mound is in 
sight, on the top of which are standing a few tall, melan- 
choly pines. On the hills which surround the city, and 
in the beautiful little vill of Yineville, which adjoins it, 
may be seen the evidences of refinement, in the hand* 



18 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

some residences adorned witli shrubbery and evergreens ; 
among which, the olive and the holly, with its lucid 
green, are the most common. Many of the residences 
of men of wealth are admirable, especially for their 
tasteful grounds. But there is the fondness for white 
paint, which may be observed in all parts of the South, 
and for a nondescript architecture, in which all styles 
are jumbled ; or a plain magnificence studied in rows of 
pillars and flights of steps, which frequently give to a 
Southern villa the singular appearance of an eleemosy- 
nary institution. The chief object, however, to which 
the admiration of the stranger is directed in Macon is 
the public cemetery, v^^hich is compared (not extrava- 
gantly) in some points of natural scenery, to Mount Au- 
burn and Greenwood. It is a lovely piece of ground, 
with natural terraces overhanging the Ocmulgee, and 
the wild glen that divides it. The picturesque effect, 
however, is almost entirely destroyed by the thick brush- 
wood, which prevents the eye from taking in the outlines 
of the scene. The ground is covered with coppices of 
oak and pine, and studiously kept in a state of nature. 
It seems, however, a strange idea to keep the natural 
scene concealed by the brushwood which everywhere 
intercepts the view. Maybe, it is intended to be 
"Unadorned, adorned the most" — 

an aesthetic fogyism, en passant, disproved and despised, 
at least by the charming ladies of Macon. 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 19 

In writing to you, my dear C, of the South, and its 
peculiar institution (as I intend), I am sure that I have 
no prejudice to dispel from your mind on the subject; 
hut as I may hereafter publish some extracts from the 
correspondence, I hope the sketches, which may amuse 
you, may correct the false vievrs of others, derived, as 
they chiefly are, from the libels of Northern spies, 
who live or travel here in disguise. Thus I observed 
lately a communication in some of the Abolition papers, 
professing to have been written by one who has been a 
resident of Macon for eleven years, to the effect that the 
people here do not allow Northern papers to circulate or 
be taken by subscribers, or even Congressional documents 
to be among them, which do not harmonize with their 
peculiar views. Although this infamous libel is quite 
as absurd and undeserving of contradiction as the famed 
Arrowsmith hoax, or any of the Sanguinary Crowbar 
style of negro-worship fictions, it deserves notice in one 
respect. There are a number of Yankee doughfaces in 
the South, who, before us, are the greatest admirers of 
the peculiar institution^ and, to honey-fuggle us, even 
chime in with the abuse of their own section. There is 
danger in these men of disguised character, many of 
whom are doing business in the South. They are not 
to be trusted ; and while, not satisfied with being tole- 
rated among us, they impose on our confidence and hos- 
pitality by their professions, they take secret opportuni- 



20 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

ties to gratify their real hatred of us, by tampering with 
the slaves, or by libelling the South under the shelter 
of anonymous letters published in the North. The man 
who would devise a safe opportunity to publish what he 
knew to be false and libellous of those whose good will 
he had won by another lie, might, with the same hope 
of impunity, venture on a grander revenge, and secretly 
conspire with the slave in a rebellion. 

But it is not my purpose to trouble you with a disser- 
tation on " the vexed question," or the social system of 
the South, or any of the political aspects of Slavery. I 
merely design to employ a few leisure hours in a series 
of unpretending sketches of the condition, habits, and 
peculiarities of the negro-slave. The field, you know, 
has furnished a number of books ; and I am sure, my 
dear C, that you are too sensible of the large share of 
public attention niggers occupy in this country to slight 
them. Besides, I am thoroughly convinced that the 
negro portraits of the fiction writers are, most of them, 
mere caricatures, taking them all, from "Uncle Tom's 
Cabin," down to the latest reply thereto — " a book " 
from a Virginia authoress, in which the language put in 
the mouth of her leading character is a mixture of Irish 
idioms with the dialect of the Bowery. "Who ever heard 
a Southern negro say, as the Virginia lady's sable hero 
does, " The tip-top of the morning to you, young ladies ! " 
or "What's to pay now ? " Nor will we find any of 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 21 

Mrs. Stowe's Uncle Toms in the South, at least so far as 
the religious portraiture goes. The negro, in his religion, 
is not a solemn old gentleman, reading his Bible in cor- 
ners and praying in his closet : his piety is one of fits 
and starts, and lives on prayer-meetings, with its rounds 
of ^zortations, shoutings, and stolen sweets of haked 

pig- 

You already know niy opinion of the peculiarities of 

the negro's condition in the South, in the provision made 
for his comfort, and in the attachment between him and 
his master. The fact is, that, in wandering from my 
native soil to other parts of the world, I have seen 
slavery in many forms and aspects. We have all heard 
enough of the colliers and factory operatives of England, 
and the thirty thousand costermongers starving in the 
streets of London ; as also of the serfs and crown-peas- 
ants of Russia, who are considered not even as chattels, 
but as part of the land, and who have their wives select- 
ed for them by their masters. I have seen the hideous 
slavery of Asia. I have seen the coolies of China 
"housed on the wild sea with wilder usages," or creeping 
with dejected faces into the suicide houses of Canton. 
I have seen the Siamese slave creeping in the presence 
of his master on all-fours — a human quadruped. It was 
indeed refreshing, after such sights, to get back to the 
Southern institution, which strikes one after so many 
years of absence, with a novelty that makes him ap- 



22 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

predate more than ever the evidences of comfort and 
happiness on the plantations of the South. 

The jfirst unadulterated negro I had seen for a number 
of years (having heen absent for the most of that time 
on a foreign soil), was on the railroad cars in Yirginia. 
He looked like home. I could have embraced the old 
uncle, but was afraid the passengers, from such a 
demonstration, might mistake me for an abolitionist. 
I looked at him with my face aglow, and my eyelids 
touched with tears. How he reminded me of my home 
— of days gone by — that poetry of youth, " when T 
was a boy," and wandered with my sable playmates 
over the warm, wide hiUs of my sweet home, and along 
the branches, fishing in the shallow waters with a 
crooked pin ! But no romancing with the past ! So 
we continue our journey onward to " the State of 
railways and revolvers." 

Arrived in Georgia, I find plenty of the real genuine 
woolly-heads, such as don't part their hair in the mid- 
dle, like Mass'r Fremont. My first acquaintance is 
with Aunt Debby. I insist upon giving her a shake 
of the hand, which she prepares for by deprecatingly 
wiping her hand on her apron. Aunt Debby is an aged 
colored female of the very highest respectability, and, 
with her white apron, and -her head mysteriously envel- 
oped in the brightest of bandannas, she looks (to use 
one of her own rather obscure similes) " like a new 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 23 

pin." She is very fond of usurping the authority of 
her mistress below stairs, and has the habit of designa- 
ting every one of her ov^n color, not admitted to equality, 
as '•'- de nigger.'''' Aunt Debby is rather spoiled, if 
having things her own way means it. If at times her 
mistress is roused to dispute her authority. Aunt Debby 
is sure to resume the reins when quiet ensues. " Deb- 
by," cries her mistress, " what's all this noise in the 
kitchen — what are you whipping Lucy for ?" " La, 
missis, I'se jest makin' her 'have herself. She too busy 
walling her eyes at me, and spilt the water on the 
steps." Among the children. Aunt Debby is a great 
character. She is, however, very partial; and her 
favorite is little Nina, whom she calls (from what re- 
mote analogy we are at a loss to conjecture) " her 
jeUy-poty I flatter myself that I am in her good 
graces. - Her attention to me has been shown by a 
present of ground-peas, and accessions of fat lightwood 
to my fire in the morning. 

The religious element is very strong in Aunt Debby's 
character, and her repertoire of pious minstrelsy is quite 
extensive. Her favorite hymn is in the following words, 
which are repeated over and over again : 

" Oh run, brother, run ! Judgment day is comin' ! 
Oh run, brother, run ! Why don't you come along ? 
The road so rugged, and the hill so high — 
And my Lord call me home, 
To walk the golden streets of my New Jerusalem." 



24 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

Aunt Debby's religion is of that sort — always beg- 
-ging the Lord to take her up to glory, and professing 
the greatest anxiety to go 7'ight now I This religious 
enthusiasm, however, is not to be taken at its word. 

You have doubtless heard the anecdote of Caesar, 
which is too good not to have been told more than once ; 
though even if you have heard the story before, it will 
bear repetition for its moral. Now, Caesar one day had 
caught it, not from Brutus, but from Betty — an allegor- 
ical coquette in the shape of a red cowhide. On retiring 
to the silence of liis cabin at night, Caesar commenced to 
soliloquize, rubbing the part of his body where the cas- 
tigation had been cliiefly admmistered, and bewailing 
his fate with tragic desperation, in the tlurd person. 
" Csesar," said he, " most done gone — don't want to 
live no longer ! Jist come, good Lord, swing low de 
chariot, and take dis chile away ! Caesar ready to go — 
he luants to go !" An irreverent darkey outside, hear- 
ing these protestations, tapped at the' door. " Wlio dar ?" 
replied Caesar, in a low voice of suppressed alarm. " De 
angel of de Lord come for Caesar, 'cordin to request." 
The dread summons had indeed come, thought Caesar ; 
but blowing out the hght with a sudden whiff, he re- 
plied, in an unconcerned tone, " De nigger doiiH live 
here.'''' 

There is one other trait wanting to complete Aunt 
Debby's character. Though at an advanced age, she is 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 25 

very coquettish ; and keeps up a regular assault on a big 
lout of the name of Sam, whom she affects to despise as 
"jist de meanest nigger de Lord ever put hreath in." 
I overheard some words between them last holidoy. 
" I'se a white man to-day," says Sam, " and I'se not 
gwine to take any of your imperence, old ooman ;" at 
the same time, taking the famihar liberty of poking his 
finger into her side like a brad-awl. " Gret 'long, Sa — 
ten !" replied Aunt Debby, with a shove, but a smile at 
the same time, to his infernal majesty. And then they 
both fell to laughing for the space of half a minute, 
although I must confess, that I could not understand 
what they were laughing at. 

Aunt Debby may serve you, my dear C, as a pic- 
ture of the happy, contented. Southern slave. Some of 
your Northern politicians would represent the slaves of 
the South as sullen, gloomy, isolated from life — in fact, 
pictures of a living death. Believe me, nothing could 
be further from the truth. Like Aunt Debby, they have 
their little prides and passions, their amusements, their 
pleasantries, which constitute the same sum of happi- 
ness as in the lives of their masters. 

The whipping-post and the slave mart are constantly 
paraded before the eyes of the poor, deluded fanatics of 
your section. Now I can assure you that the inhuman 
horrors of the slave auction-block exist only in imagi- 
nation. Many instances of humanity may be observed 



26 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

there ; and but seldom does the influence of the 
almighty dollar appear to sway other and better con- 
siderations in the breast of the slaveholder. The sepa- 
ration of families at the block has come to be of very 
unfrequent occurrence, although the temptation is ob- 
vious to do so, as they generally sell much better when 
the families are separated, and especially as the traders, 
who usually purchase for immediate realization, do not 
wish small children. Indeed, there is a statute in this 
State (G-eorgia) forbidding the sale of slave children of 
tender age away from their parents. 

I attended a slave auction here the other day. The 
negroes were called up in succession on the steps of the 
court-house, where the crier stood. Naturally most of 
them appeared anxious as the bidding was going on, 
turning their eyes from one bidder to the other ; while 
the scene would be occasionally enlivened by some jest 
in depreciation of the negro on the stand, which would 
be received with especial merriment by his fellow 
negroes, who awaited their turn, and looked on from a 
large wagon in which they were placed. As I came 
up, a second-rate plantation hand of the name of Noah 
but whom the crier persisted in calling " Noey," was 
being oifiPered, it being an administrator's sale. Noey, 
on mounting the steps, had assumed a most drooping 
aspect, hanging his head and affecting the feebleness of 
old age. He had probably hoped to have avoided a sale 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 27 

by a dodge, which is very common in such cases. But 
the first bid — $1,000 — startled him, and he looked 
eagerly to the quarter whence it proceeded. " Never 
mind who he is, he has got the money. Now, gentle- 
men, just go on ; who will say fifty?" And so the crier 
proceeds with his monotonous calling. " I aint worth 
all that, mass'r ; I aint much 'count no how," cries 
Noey energetically to the first bidder. "Yes, you are, 
Noey — ah, $1,010, thank you, sir," replies the crier. 
The gentleman who makes this bid is recognized by 
Noey as " Mass'r John," one of the heirs. $1,011, re- 
joins the first bidder, and Noey throws a glance of in- 
finite disdain at him for his presumption in bidding 
against his master. But as the bidders call over each 
other, Noey becomes more excited. "Drive on, Mass'r 
John," he exclaims, laughing with excitement. The 
bidding is very slow. Mass'r John evidently hesitates 
at the last call, $1,085, as too large a price for the 
slave, though anxious to bid the poor fellow in ; but 
Noey is shouting to him, amid the incitements of the 
crowd, to " Drive on ;" and, after a pause, he says in a 
firm tone, eleven hundred dollars. The crier calls out 
the round numbers with a decided emphasis. He looks 
at the first bidder, who is evidently making up his mind 
whether to go higher, while Noey is regarding him, too, 
with a look of the keenest suspense. The man shakes 



28 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

his head at last, the hammer falls, and Noey, with an 
exulting whoop, dashes down the steps to his master. 
Yours truly, e. a. p. 

To D. M. C, Esq., N. Y. 



LETTER II. 

Macon, Georgia, 1858. 

My Dear C : The conclusion of my last letter 

was, I believe, concerning that abolition bugbear, the 
slave auction mart. Macon, you must know, is one of 
the principal marts for slaves in the South. Some time 
ago, I attended on the city's confines an extraordinarily 
large auction of slaves, including a gang of sixty-one 
from a plantation in southwestern Georgia. - The prices 
brought were comparatively low, as there was no war- 
ranty of soundness, and owing very much, also, to the 
fact that the slaves were all sold in families ; and they, 
too, uncommonly large, as I counted fifty-nine negroes 
in ten families. To give you some idea of the prices 
brought, I quote the following : Clarinda's family — Cla- 
rinda, plantation cook, weakly, 45 years ; Betsey, field 
hand, prime, 22 years ; James, field hand, prime, 14 
years ; Edmond, Betsey's son, 4 years, brought total, 
$2,620. Jourdon's family, bright mulattoes — Jourdon, 
blacksmith, prime 33 years ; Lindy, field hand, prime, 
30 years ; Mary, prime, 13 years ; Winney, prime, 12 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 29 

years ; Alsbey, prime, 9 years ; Elizabeth, prime, 6 
years, brought total, $3,650. Chloe's family, consist- 
ing all of likely negroes, the younger mulattoes — viz. : 
Ghloe, field hand, prime, 33 years, classified as " the 
best of negroes ;" Clarissa, fieldhand, prime, 16 years ; 
Junius, prime, 9 years ; Francis, prime, 12 years ; 
Robert, prime, 5 years ; infant, 2 months, brought 
total, $2,940. 

During the sale referred to, a lot was put up consist- 
ing of a woman and her two sons, one of whom was 
epileptic (classified by the crier as " fittified "). It was 
stated that the owner would not sell them unless the 
epileptic boy was taken along at the nominal price of 
one dollar, as he wished him provided for. Some of the 
bidders expressed their dissatisfaction at this, and a tra- 
der offered to give two hundred dollars more on condition 
that the epileptic boy should be thrown out. But the 
temptation was unheeded, and the poor boy was sold with 
his mother. There are frequent instances at the auction- 
block of such humanity as this on the part of masters. 

Facts like these should teach us, my dear C, that 
when that feature even, which we all confess to be the 
worst in our system of negro- slavery, is relieved by so 
many instances of humane and generous consideration 
on the part of slaveholders, our peculiar institution is 
one the virtues of which qualify its defects, and of pecu- 
liar merit. 



30 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

But I will leave off sermonizing, and give you what 1 
promised — a simple, home picture of slavery. 

I must tell you, next to Aunt Debby (who figured in 
my last letter,) of " Uncle " Greorge — " Old Bones," as 
we boys used to call him-. In our young days we were 
perpetually either teasing or tradmg with the old fellow, 
who was the head-gardener, and was kept constantly on 
the lookout by our depredations on his vines. Or when 
we got a few cents from " grandpa," or obtained leave 
to give away our " old clothes," how we used to buy 
from him, surreptitiously, little noggins of muddy cider ! 
Years ago, when I left home, he was then almost decrepit 
from old age, but his avarice and keenness at a trade 
with his " young mass'rs " were the same as ever. He 
was a queer-looking old fellow ; never would wear a hat ; 
and, with his immense shock of hair as white as snow, 
and standing off from his head, and his enormous leather 
" galluses" (suspenders), he made a singular picture in 
our boyish recollections. 

Ah I how many times in years of exile from my native 
land have I recalled the image of this old slave, with the 
picture of the old brick garden, with its grass walks and 
its cherry-trees, and the gentle mounds in the corner, 
that saddest, sweetest spot on earth — the parental graves ! 

Boys are never very thoughtful. No th withstanding 
Uncle Greorge's respectability and good "nature, we used 
to worry him very much, and were constantly on the 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 31 

alert to cheat him in a trade. The latter, however, it 
was difficult to accomplish. Quicksilvered cents, which 
we used to cunningly offer him, protesting that we 
had just " found "' them, would not go with him. I 
remember well, when we went out hunting — four broth- 
ers, with an old flint gun — ^how, after shooting a few 
" peckerwoods " in the orchard, we would go down to the 
garden and banter Uncle G-eorge to shoot at a mark for 
" fourpence apenny." He was very proud of doing this, 
and enjoyed the privilege of " shooting a gun " with the 
same zest as a ten-year-old school boy. But he discovered 
our trick at last — ^how the gun was loaded for him with- 
out shot and with five "fuigers" of powder, "kicking" 
him most unmercifully, and never showing the least 
sign on the target. 

If you should ever visit " Oakridge," my dear C, you 
must be prepared for a grand reception by Uncle G-eorge, 
who is quite a Beau Hickman in his way. He is a very 
genteel beggar. He makes it a point to see all the visitors 
who come to our home ; and has the ugly habit of 
secretly waylaying them, and begging them to "remem- 
ber " him. You must have half-a-dollar for him when 
you come. I think I can promise that you will not be 
quite as heartless to his appeal for a place in your memory, 
as was a gentleman from the North ("a friend of humani- 
ty "), who lately partook of our hospitality. On his 
leaving, Uncle G-eorge, as usual, exercised his privilege 



32 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

of bringing the horse to " the rack ;" and, after assist- 
ing the gentleman to mount, begged that " mass'r would 
remember the old nigger." " Oh, yes," replied the 
friend of humanity, as he rode off, " I will not forget 
you, my good fellow ; I will think of you, and hope you 
will be elevated into a better condition." But he never 
gave him a dime to be elevated with. 

On the morning following my return home, after 
years of absence, I was told that Uncle G-eorge, who 
was too decrepit from age to come up to the house, 
wanted me to come to the negro " quarter " to see him. 
He understood that I had been in "that gold country," 
(he meant California) and he wanted to see his young 
mass'r very particularly, intimating quite clearly that 
he expected a handsome present. I found the old fellow 
very comfortably situated. He had grown old gently ; 
he had never seen any hard service ; and now in his old 
age was he not only not required to do any work, but, 
with that regard commonly exhibited toward the slave 
when stricken with age, he had every attention paid 
him in the evening of his life. His meals were sent 
out to him from our own table. There was one little 
considerate attention that touched me. His passion for 
gardening, which had been the whole occupation of his 
life, had been gratified by giving him a little patch of 
ground in front of his cabin, where he might amuse 
himself at his own option. 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 33 

T found Uncle Greorge in his miniature garden. The 
old fellow staggered up to see me, and, suddenly drop- 
ping, clasped me around the knees. I was quite over- 
come. This poor old man was " a slave," and yet he 
had a place in my heart, and I was not ashamed to 
meet him with tears in my eyes. Miserable abolition- 
ists ! you prate of brotherly love and humanity. If you 
or any man had dared to hurt a hair of this slave, I 
could have trampled you into the dust. 

"Uncle Greorge," said I, "I am sorry to see you 
look so old." " Ah, mass'r, I'se monstrous old. But 
missis mighty good to me. She know I set store by all 
her children. Belinda" (his wife) "wwssec^" (he means 
' nursed ') " all of you." " "Well, Uncle George," I said, 
" I am glad to see you made so comfortable. The 
family should never forget you. I have often heard 
how you saved grandpa's life, when he was drowning." 
" Yes, yes, mass'r," replied the old fellow, " and I 
saved him many a dollar, too." 

Aunt Belinda, Uncle G-eorge's wife, I find in the 
cabin, as blithe as ever, though stricken with age. 
She is also on ihe retired list, and her only care is to 
"mind" the children in the quarter. The religious 
element is quite as marked in her character as in that 
of Aunt Debby, of whom I spoke in my last epistle. 
But it is more tender and of more universal love. She 
parts from every one with the wish of " meeting them 



34 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

at tlie riglit hand of G-od." She sings some simple 
and touching hymns, which I am sorry I did not com- 
mit to paper. Qne she sings very sweetly, in which 
the lines constantly recur — 

Oh, Heaven, sweet Heaven, when shall I see? 
When shall I ever get there ? 

Of another favorite hym of hers I took down the 
following words : 

" Go back, angels ! Go back, angels ! 
Go back into Heaven, little children ! 
Go back, little angels ! 
And I don't want to stay behind — 
Behold the Lamb of God ! 
Behold the Lamb of God ! 
And I don't want to stay behind." 

You will find, my dear C, one of the most striking 
characteristics of the negro in the South in the reli- 
gious bent of his mind. Whether a member of the church 
or no, he is essentially at war with the devil. With 
him religion is entirely a matter of sentiment, and his 
imasrination often takes unwarrantable liberties with 
the Scriptures. This is particularly so in the images 
he conjures up of the place where the bad niggers go, 
and the things appertaining thereto. The negro who 
has " got de 'ligion," and has never been favored in the 
process with a peep at " Ole Sa-ten," or is unable to 
give a full description of his person, is considered by his 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 85 

brethren a doubtful case — a mere trifler, if not a hypo- 
crite. 

Sam was relating to me the other day his religious 
experience, in the course of which, the " Old Scratch" 
seems to have given him a great deal of trouble, appear- 
ing at his elbow whenever he prayed, and walking un- 
ceremoniously into his room, cracking a long whip, of 
which instrurhent of persuasion Sam seems to have a 
peculiar horror. " De last time he come," says Sam, 
" he knock at de door and call ' Sam ;' my courage 
sorter fail me den, and I blows out de light and tell 
him de, nigger done dead two weeks 'go; and den he 
says, ' If you don't open de door, you dam nigger, I will 
straighten you out ;' and den I jis go right clean out 
of der winder ; and as I turn de corner, here come ole 
mass'r right agin me ; and when I tell him as how I jis 
seed de debble wid my own eyes, he tell me I gwine 
to catch him, too, and dat he was gwine to get 'ligion 
out me by hooping " — a new use you might imagine, 
my dear C, to put "hoops" to; but I discovered that 
Sam's pronunciation was bad, and that he meant 
nothing more than a dressing to his hide. 

But the idea we get of the negro's religion is not al- 
ways ludicrous. Some of their superstitions are really 
beautiful, and illustrate their poetic cast of mind. Their 
hymns, or religious chants, might furnish a curious 

book. The words are generally very few, and repeated 

2* 



86 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

over and over again ; and the lines, though very un- 
equal, are sung with a natural cadence that impresses 
the ear quite agreeably. Most of them relate to the 
moment of death, and in some of them are simple and 
poetic images which are often touching. The following 
occur to me without any pains at selection : 

" Oh, carry me away, carry me away, my Lord ! 
Carry me to the berryin' ground, 
The green trees a-howing. Sinner, fare you -well ! 
I thank the Lord I want to go, 
To leave them all behind. 
Oh, carry me away, carry me away, my Lord ! 
Carry me to the berryin' ground." 

The following is an image of touching simplicity — 
a thought of poetry : 

" I am gwine home, children ; I am gwine home, children, 
De angel bid me to come. 
I am gwine down to de water side — 
Tis de harvest time, children. 
And de angel bid me come." 

The negroes here have three or four churches of dif- 
ferent denominations — Baptist, Methodist, and Presby- 
terian — in which there is regular service every Sunday. 
The sermons and exhortations of the colored preachers, 
as we see them reported, are mostly mere caricatures. 
They are often sensible, and though the images are those 
of an untutored imagination, they are anything in the 
world but ludicrous. I attended the services of one of 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 37 

the negro churches last Sunday, and heard really a very 
sensible exhortation from one of their colored preachers, 
who, although he commenced by telling his congrega- 
tion that " death was knocking at then Aee/s," went on 
to draw a picture of the judgment with a wild, native 
sublimity that astonished me. 

A feature in. the services struck me rather ludicrously. 
The congregation sang a duet, which ran somewhat as 
follows : 

First Voices. Oh, hallelujah ! Griory in my soul ! 

Second Voices. Humph ! Whar ? 

F. V. When' the moon go down the mountain, hide 
your face from G-od. 

S. V. Humph ! Whar ? 

F. V. To talk with Jesus. Glory hallelujah! 

The colored Methodist church here is a handsome 
building, which the negroes have paid for, themselves, 
besides maintaining a white preacher. You must know 
that our colored gentry (many of whom, as the custom 
is here, make considerable money by " hiring their own 
time," and paying their masters a stated sum for the 
privilege), not only maintain parsons and build churches, 
but hire carriages on Sundays to attend them. The fact 
is, we have too many of these colored codfish in some 
parts of the South, especially in the towns. 

While I was in Macon, quite a spectacle was exhib- 
ited on the street, in the obsequies of one of our slave 



88 BLACK DIAMONi»S. 

gentry. The deceased had been attached as a drummer 
to one of our volunteer companies, the band of which 
accompanied the body to the grave. The funeral cor- 
tege was truly striking. The body was borne through 
the principal streets in a handsome hearse, fringed 
with sable, and preceded by the band of the company, 
playing funeral marches, while, followmg after, came a 
long procession of negroes, in decent attire, and a por- 
tion riding in carriages. Yes ! negroes actually riding 
in carriages, hired each at eight dollars a day ! "What, 
my dear C, will Mrs. Stowe and the nigger worshippers 
say now of all this '-^ fuss about ^a. dead nigger?'''' — a 
deprecation, you will recollect, of mass'r Legree ! 

Let them say what they please, say I, as long as they 
cannot get our negroes away from us, and kill them off 
in then own unfeeling land with cold, nakedness, and 
hunger. I am not ashamed, my dear C, to confess to 
be attached by affection to some of the faithful slaves 
of our family, to have sent them remembrances in ab- 
sence, and, in my younger days, to have made little 
monuments over the grave of my poor " mammy." Do 
you think I could ever have borne to see her consigned 
to the demon abolitionist, man or woman, and her lean, 
starved corpse rudely laid in a pauper's grave? No! 
At this moment my eyes are tenderly filled with tears 
when I look back through the mists of long years upon 
the image of that dear old slave, and recollect how she 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 89 

loved me in her simple manner ; how, when chided even 
by my mother, she would protect and humor me ; and 
how, in the long days of summer, I have wept out my 
boyish passion on her grave. Yours truly, e. a. p. 

To D. M. C, Esq., K Y. 



LETTERIII. 

Briarclifp, Virginia, 1858. 

My Dear C : I have been reflecting how illusory 

and fallacious are our poor human doctrines of happi- 
ness. What is happiness ? — a question often proposed 
and often answered by enumerations of pleasures and 
gifts of fortune. But we cannot analyze happiness ; we 
cannot name its elements ; we cannot say what consti- 
tutes it ; all that can be determined, is the fact whether 
or no we possess happiness, and that fact is one of indi- 
vidual consciousness. Happiness is a fact of conscious- 
ness : it is subjective ; it is independent of all external 
conditions ; and it is individual. The body may be 
surrounded by every comfort ; the mind may be intoxi- 
cated by pleasures ; the whole life may be illumined 
with fortune ; no affliction may ever cast its cold 
shadow on the path ; riches may dazzle ; soft loves may 
breathe their incense ; the conscience even may never 
accuse, and the wild pulse of pleasure may beat on and 
on ; but the man of all this store and- of all this fortune, 



40 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

when he explores his consciousness, may find the senti- 
ment of unhappiness mysteriously and unalterably 
there. How wonderful is this! 

Yet, dear C, there may be many who would accuse 
me of pressing a trite and very simple observation in 
thus speaking of the independence of happiness of all 
external conditions. I think this one of the great mys- 
teries of life ; and those who have felt its truth stealing 
into their hearts will think so too. Some days ago, I 
was walking in the fields ; the sunset and the balmy 
air tranquillized me ; I had nothing at that time to com- 
plain of, or to accuse myself of, and yet at that moment 
when I saw a poor man walking to his home along the cool 
shadow of the road, I suddenly, mysteriously, and earnest- 
ly wished that I was he, and might rest, rest from the 
weary world. 

Yes, my beloved friend, Grod gives happiness to men, 
without reference to the circumstances that surround 
them ; he gives it to the beggar as well as the lord ; to 
the slave as well as the master. The doctrine of ine- 
quahty in the distribution of happiness is impious and 
infidel, and should be rejected as a vile and corrupt- 
ing dogma of the atheists and free-thinkers. The distri- 
bution is, in fact, where men do not pervert the designs 
of Providence, as nearly equal as it is possible to imagine ; 
for even in the distribution of that portion of happiness 
derived from external condition, there is introduced a 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 41 

singular law of compensation, which adjusts our natural 
and original appreciation of the gifts of fortune, precise- 
ly in inverse proportion to what we have of them. 

There was a time when I thought, too, how un- 
equally happiness — Heaven's gift — was shared in by 
men. Often and acutely, when a tender and inexpe- 
rienced boy, did I suffer from that thought. It diseased 
my sensibilities ; it introduced into my life a dark and 
gloomy melancholy ; it made me sorrowful, sometimes 
sullen, sometimes fierce. Well do I recall those feel- 
ings. In the midst of my own boyish enjoyments, 
when, having a pleasant ride in the old swinging car- 
riage, or feasting on delicacies, 1 have suddenly thought 
of my poor little slave companions, how they had to 
work in the fields, how they were made to tote burdens 
under the summer's sun, what poor food they had, and 
with what raptures they would devour " the cake " 
with which I was pampering myself. Then would I 
become gloomy, embittered, and strangely anxious to 
inflict pain and privation on myself; and with vague 
enthusiasm would accuse the law that had made the 
lots of men so different. 1 was fast becoming the victim 
of the same fanaticism, the fruits of which we see de- 
veloped in a senseless self-martyrdom, or in a fierce in- 
fidelity, or in modern socialism, or in the reclcless spirit 
of " abolitionism ;" or in any of the insane efforts to 
make all men equally free and equally happy. 



42 BLACK DIAMONDS, 

But the bitter experiences of life have cured these 
feelings. In its sad and painful struggles has expired 
my juvenile and false philosophy, and I have aw^akened 
to the calm, serious, profound conviction, that every 
human lot has its sorrow and its agony, and that, as 
an Italian proverb beautifully signifies — " A skeleton 
misery is shut up in the closet of every heart." I am 
profoundly convinced that the negro-slave has naturally 
as much of happiness as I. What I disappreciate is 
to him an almost priceless source of enjoyment ; the 
pain I derive from a thousand delicate griefs he never 
feels ; all that I suffer from struggles, from disappoint- 
ments, from agonies in a superior career, he is a happy 
stranger to. It is a very simple truth, my dear C, that 
happiness is in the mind — but when will the world learn 
the plain leson, wipe away the tears of all sentiment- 
al sympathy, and adopt, as the great rule of life, that 
every man should bear his own burdens ; that the object 
of sympathy is individual ; and that it is equally sense- 
less and sinful to sorrow over lots inferior to our own, 
as to repine for and envy those which are superior. . 

I have no tears for the lot of the negro-slave ; he can 
make it as happy as, and perhaps happier than, my 
own. I look into my own heart and write what I find 
there. Years ago, I left my home to adventure into the 
world, to seek my fortune tens of thousands of miles 
away ; but my heart was swelling, defiant, joyous ; I 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 43 

had glowing prospects, and was departing with a flush 
of exultation, which even the last tears that I dropped 
on my mother's hosom clouded but for a moment. But 
when I stood waiting for the boat along the little 
muddy canal, where began my journey, that was by 
progressive stages at last to enter upon the great ocean, 
and when poor old gray-headed Uncle Jim came down 
to the bank, tottering under my fine trunk, and stood 
watching my departure with loud, fervent blessings, my 
heart was struck with a peculiar grief. I thought that 
while I was going out to the world, to taste its innu- 
merable joys, to see its fine sights, to revel in its fine 
linens, its wines, and its dissipations, here was poor, 
good old Uncle Jim to go back along the old wagon 
rut through the woods to his log cabin, to return to the 
drudgery of the stupid old fields, condemned never to 
see the fine world, never to taste its pleasures, never 
to feel the glow of its passionate joys, but to die 
like the clod, which alone, was to marlc his grave. So I 
thought when I left Uncle Jim on the canal bank, be- 
wailing his " little young mass'r's " departure ; (but 
considerately provided by me with two whole dollars to 
console him with a modicum of whiskey, molasses, and 
striped calicoes, at the grocery that stood hard by.) 

Well, dear C, I went out into the world. I went first 
to California, and for four years there I think I learned 
some lessons that will last me through life. I had lost 



44 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

none of my buoyancy when I first stepped on old " Long 
Wharf," and took my first drink of genuine strychnine 
whiskey at an old shanty that stood curiously at the 
head of the wharf, surmounted by an immense wt)oden 
figure of " the Wandering Jew." I went boldly and 
buoyantly to work the moment I landed. Well, it is 
needless to repeat to you here the story of my trials, my 
successes, and my dread reverses. When the world 
treated me most roughly — when I writhed in all the 
agony of the defeat, self-distrust, and self-contempt of 
a sensitive ambition — when poverty-stricken I worked 
along one of the little streams that ran through a pine 
glade of the Sierra, and when I buried my only friend 
Mac there, high up on the hill-side, that the gold-diggers 
might never disturb his dust, and lay down at night 
in despair, waking up with the demoniac joys of a reck- 
less life burning in my heart, burning out my life — 
friendless, moneyless, agonized — with such experiences 
of my own of the life of this world, I had very little 
sympathy left, I assure you, for buck negroes " pining 
in their chains," or any other sort of sentimental barba- 
rians. I just felt that every man has his own burden 
to bear in this life ; that, while (I hope to G-od) I would 
always be found ready to sympathize with and assist any 
individual tangible case of suffering, I would never be 
such a fool thereafter as to make the abstract lots of 
men in this world an object of sympathy. I venture 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 45 

to say that I have suffered more of uiihappiness in a 
short worldly career than ever did my " Uncle Jim" or 
any other well conditioned negro slave in a whole life- 
time. How many of us, who are hlessed with so 
many external gifts of fortune, can lay our hands on 
aching, unsatisfied hearts, and say the same ! 

I am persuaded, my dear C, that the sympathy oi 
the abolitionists with the negro slave is entirely senti- 
mental in its source. They associate with the idea in- 
spired by that terrible word ' slavery" the poetic and 
fiendish horrors of chains, scourges, and endless despair. 
They never pause to reflect how much better is the lot 
of the sable son of Ham, as a slave on a Southern plant- 
ation well cared for, and even religiously educated, than 
his condition in Africa, where he is at the mercy of both 
men and beasts, in danger of being eaten up bodily by his 
enemy, or being sacrificed to the Fetish or in the human 
hecatombs, by which all state occasions are said to be 
celebrated in the kingdom of Dahomey. Indeed, these 
foolish abolitionists, under a sentimental delusion, are 
brought to regard the condition of the negro in Africa as 
one of simple, poetic happiness, while associating with 
the idea of his " slavery" a thousand horrors of imagi- 
nation. If you will hunt up a poem by James Mont- 
gomery, entitled " The West Indies,'^'' which was written 
during the early days of the British " abolitionists," 
and used as a most powerful appeal in their cause, being 



46 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

published with the most profuse and costly illustrationis, 
you will find the same poetic and delusive pictures of the 
condition of the negro in Africa on the one hand, and his 
lot as a slave on the other, which exercise so great an in- 
fluence on the weak imaginations of the present day. I 
copy some characteristic passages. Here is the picture 
of the negro at home : 

" Beneath the beams of brighter skies, 
His home amidst his father's country lies ; 
There with the partner of his soul he shares 
Love-mingled pleasures, love-divided cares ; 
There, as with nature's warmest filial fire, 
He soothes his blind and feeds his helpless sire, 
His children, sporting round his hut, behold 
How they shall cherish him when he is old. 
Trained by example, from tlieir tenderest youth, 
To deeds of charity and words of truth. 
Is he not blest? Behold, at close of day. 
The negro village swarms abroad to play ; 
He treads the dance, through all its rapturous rounds 
To the wild music of barbarian sounds." 

But the negro, (according to our . poet) is rudely 
snatched away from this poetic home of peace, loveliness, 
virtue, rapture, &c., &c., and is condemned to " slavery,''^ 
condemned to endure 

" The slow pangs of solitary care — 
The earth-devouring anguish of despair ; 
"When toiling, fainting, in the land of canes, 
His spirit wanders to his native plains. 
His little lovely dwelling there he sees. 
Beneath the shade of his paternal trees — 
The home of comfort." 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 47 

Is not all this very absurd ? But it is just such stuff 
on which are fed the weak, fanatical imaginations of our 
modern abolitionists and shriekers. Here, again, is a 
picture, by our poet, of a slave proprietor, which will suit 
to a nicety the modern New-England conception of a 
Southern "nigger-driver." 

" See the dull Creole at his pompous board, 
Attendant vassals cringing round their lord ; 
Satiate m.th. food, his heavy eyehds close, 
Voluptuous minions fan him to repose. 
Prone on the noonday couch he lolls in vain, 
Delirious slumbers rack his maudlin brain ; 
He starts in horror from bewildering dreams, 
His blood-shot eye with fire and frenzy gleams. 
He stalks abroad ; through all his ^vonted rounds, 
The negro trembles and the lash resounds ; 
And (^ies of anguish, shrilling through the air, 
To distant fields his dread approach declare." 

Now, my dear C, it is needless to say to you that we 
have no such ogres in the South, or to delay you with 
criticisms of these h}^er-poetical and nonsensical pictures 
of slavery. I wish to recur to the more logical style, 
with which I started out in the commencement of this 
letter. I wish to say that the happiness of the Southern 
slave is not to be estimated by his paucity of fortune, or 
any such vulgar standard ; but that we are to consider, 
as peculiar elements of happiness in his lot, his peaceful 
frame of mind, his great appreciation of the little of 
fortune he has (by a rule of inverse proportion), and 
his remission from all the ordinary cares of life. I will 



48 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

here add, too, in contradiction and in contempt of the 
poet's picture supra of the dreadful slave-owner, that a 
great and peculiar source of happiness to the Southern 
slave is the freedom of intercourse and attachment be- 
tween himself and his master. 

Instead of a slave-owner stalking around " with fire 
and frenzy," amid the "shrilling" cries of slaves, we 
will find the intercourse between the Southern planter 
and slave, even in the fields, to be generally of the 
most intimate and genial kind. Your own observation 
in the South, dear C, will doubtless attest this cir- 
cumstance. You have seen, as well as I, a master 
kindly saluting his slaves in the field, and listen- 
ing patiently to their little requests about new clothes, 
new shoes, &c. And you have, no doubt, also seen slaves, 
in their intercourse with the families of their masters, 
playing with the children, indulging their rude but sin- 
gularly innocent humor with them, and joining their 
young masters in all sorts of recreation. It is these 
social privileges which constitute so large and so peculiar 
a source of enjoyment in the life of the slave, and which 
distinguish his lot so happily from that of the free laborer, 
who has nothing but a menial intercourse with his em- 
ployer. 

I might, dear C, give you a number of anecdotes from 
my own experience, of the intimacy which is frequently 
indulged between the Southern slave and the members 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 49 

of his master's family. I was trained in an affectionate 
respect far the old slaves on the plantation ; I was per- 
mitted to visit their cabins, and to carry them kind 
words and presents ; and often have I been soundly and 
unceremoniously whipped by the old black women for 
my annoyances. All my recreations were shared by 
slave companions. I have hunted and fished with Cuffy ; 
I have wrestled on the banks of the creek with him ; 
and with him as my trusty lieutenant, I have "filibus- 
tered" all over my old aunt's dominions from " Rucker's 
Run" to cousin " Bobity Bee's." 

And then there was " brother Bromus," who had many 
a fight with "Wilson and Cook Lewis, and who, besides 
being generally whipped, always paid the penalty for the 
fun of fighting by a sound tRrashing at the hands of 
Pleasants, the colored carriage-driver, and the father of 
the aforesaid black youngsters. "Would you believe it, 
poor Bromus stood in such terror of this black man, that 
even after he had gone to college, and used to spout 
Latin, and interlard his conversation to us boys with 
pompous allusions to college life, and with the perpetual 
phrase of "when I was at the U-ni-ver-si-ty," it was 
only necessary to threaterf him with Pleasants' wrath, to 
subdue and frighten him into anytliing. But Pleasants 
was an amiable enough negro gentleman, and although 
he used Bromus pretty badly at times, he showed him a 
good deal of rough kindness, which B., to this day, 



50 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

gratefully acknowledges, and which Pleasants avers, 
with great pride in his manly master, was the "making 
of him." 

Many a time, with my sable playmates as companions 
and conspirators in the deed, have I perpetrated revenge 
for such "rough kindness" on the old ill-natured blacks. 
What fun we used to have ; and then there was no 
cruelty to mar the sport. We limited ourselves to simple 
practical jokes, and all sorts of harmless annoyances — 
would propel apples at Uncle Peyton when he got drunk 
in the orchard ; and would send the negroes out of the 
fields upon all sorts of fools' errands, and lie in wait to 
witness their reception at the grand stone steps of the 
house by " ole mass'r," with his inevitable square-toed 
boots. No one enjoyed the sport more heartily than our 
sable companions, who, in all the affairs of fun and re- 
creation, associated with us on terms of perfect equality. 

But let me dismiss these desultory allusions to young 
days, to which my memory reverts with more of sadness . 
than of laughter. I ask, seriously, who shall say that 
the black companions of our rambles and sports, who 
cheated us, quizzed us, fought us as freely as we did 
them, were not as happy as oArselves ? Now we, their 
young masters, and they, have grown up to be men. 
From being companions in youth, they have grown up 
into slaves, we into masters. We two are pursuing 
journeys far apart across the fickle desert of life. But 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 51 

may it not be that they are still as happy as we ? It is 
true that they have an humble and inglorious career 
before them, and must ever bear the painful thought of 
dying without leaving a mark behind them ; but unlike 
many a poor white man, who has to tread the same career, 
not only without a hope of glory, but along- the thorns of 
want and through great agony, they see manifested a con- 
stant care to provide for their support, to lead them along 
peaceful and thornless paths, and to sustain them even 
to the final close of life's journey to the grave. Is there 
no happiness in this ? Is it possible that the negro, who 
has his human and rational wants supplied constantly 
and certainly, and who is indulged with so considerable 
a degree of social intercourse with his master^ can be 
made, by the single abstract reflection that he lacks 
^'liheiity^^ {aboliiion liberti/, msiik yon), more unhappy 
than his master, who may see nothing in his own career 
but a struggle with the great necessities of life, closing 
in a grave as readily, forgotten as that of his slav»3 ? Who 
shall judge of other men's happiness in this world ? Let 
the slave speak for himself; let the master speak for 
himself; and let the record be made when justice, the 
only equal thing — and that equalizes all things — shall 
be broughi down from the heavens to be done upon 

earth. 

Yours truly, 

. E. A. P. 

To D. M. C, Esq., N. T. 



52 BLACK DIAMOND^. 



LETTER IV. 

Charleston, South Carolina, 1858. 

My dear C ■ : You will permit me to say that the 

expressions in your letter, of repugnance at the proposi- 
tion to re-open the Slave trade, and of horror at what 
you esteem will he its consequences to the country, as 
well as to the abstract cause of morality, are, in my 
humble opinion, unjust to the facts of the case, and un- 
called for. 

In preceding letters, I think I promised you something 
about not discussing slavery as a political question in 
any respect. I believe that so far I have adhered gene- 
rally to that engagement ; and you will now indulge me 
for a moment, dear C, simply to say that there are many 
minds among us firmly convinced that the slave trade is 
almost the only possible measure, the last resource to 
arrest the decline of the South in the Union. They see 
that it would develop resources which have slept for the 
great want of labor ; that it would increase the total 
area of cultivation in the South to six times what it now 
is ; that it would create a demand for land, and raise its 
price, so as to compensate the planter for the deprecia- 
tion of the slave ; that it would admit the poor white 
man to the advantages of our social system; that it 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 53 

would give him dearer interests in the country he loves 
now only from simple patriotism ; that it would strengthen 
the peculiar institution ; that it would increase our rep- 
resentation in Congress ; and that it would revive and 
engender public spirit in the South, suppressed and 
limited as it now is hy the monopolies of land and labor. 
But I recognize especially in the proposition to re-open 
the slave trade, the interests of the working classes 
and yeomanry of the South. The cause of the poor 
white population of the South cries to Heaven for justice. 
We see a people who are devoted to their country, who 
must be intrusted with the defence of the institution of 
slavery, if ever it be assailed by violence, who would die for 
the South and her institutions, who, in the defence of 
these objects of their patriotism, would give probably to 
the world the most splendid examples of courage, who 
would lay down their simple and hardy lives at the com- 
mand of Southern authorities, and who would rally 
around the standard of Southern honor in the reddest 
crashes of the battle storm — we see, I say, such a peo- 
ple treated with the most ungrateful and insulting con- 
sideration by their country, debarred from its social sys- 
tem, deprived of all share in the benefits of the institu- 
tion of slavery, condemned to poverty, and even forced 
to bear the airs of superiority in black and beastly slaves! 
Is not this a spectacle to fire the heart ! As sure as God 
is judge of my own heart, it throbs with ceaseless sym- 



54 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

pathy for these poor, wronged, noble people ; and if there 
is a cause in the world I would be proud to champion, it 
is theirs — so help me God! it is theirs. 

But you doubtless ask, dear C, to be shown more 
clearly how their condition is to be reformed and elevated 
by the slave trade. Now I calculate, that with the re-open- 
ing of this trade, imported negroes might be sold in our 
Southern seaports at a profit, for one hundred dollars to 
one hundred and fifty dollars a head. The poor man 
might then hope to own a negro ; the prices of labor 
would then be brought . within his reach ; he would 
be a small farmer (revolutionizing the character of agri- 
culture in the South) ; he would at once step up to a re- 
spectable station in the social system of the South ; and 
with this he would acquire a practical and dear interest 
in the general institution of slavery, that would consti- 
tute its best protection both at home and abroad. He 
would no longer be a miserable, nondescript cumberer 
of the soil, scratching the land here and there for a sub- 
sistence, living from hand to mouth, or trespassing along 
the borders of the possessions of the large proprietors. 
He would be a proprietor himself ; and in the great work 
of developing the riches of the soil of the South, from 
which he had been heretofore excluded, vistas of enter- 
prise and wealth would open to him that would enliven 
his heart and transform him into another man. He 
would no longer be the scorn and sport of "gentlemen 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 55 

of color," who parade their superiority, rub their 
well-stufFed black skins, and thank God that they 
are not as he. 

And here, dear C, let me meet an objection which has 
been eloquently urged against the proposition to import 
into this country slaves from Africa. It is said that our 
slave population has attained a wonderful stage of civili- 
zation ; that they have greatly progressed in refinement 
and knowledge, and that it would be a great pity to 
introduce among them, from the wilds of Africa, a barba- 
rous element which would have the effect of throwing 
back our Southern negroes into a more uncivilized and 
abject condition. 

"What is pleaded here as an objection I adopt as an 
argument on my side of the question — that is, in favor of 
the African commerce. What we want especially in 
the South, is that the negro shall be brought down from 
those false steps which he has been allowed to take in 
civilization, and reduced to his proper condition as a 
slave. I have mentioned to you, dear C, what an outrage 
upon the feelings of poor white men, and what a nuisance 
generally, the slave gentry of the South is. It is time 
that all these gentlemen of color should be reduced to 
the uniform level of the slave ; and doubtless they would 
soon disappear in the contact and admixture of the rude 
African stock. 

Most seriously do I say, dear C, that numbers of the 



56 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

negro slaves of the South display a refinement and 
an ease which do not suit their condition, and which 
contrast most repulsively with the hard necessities of 
many of the whites. I have often wished that the aho- 
litionists, instead of hunting out among the swamps and 
in the raggedest parts of the South, some poor, exceptional 
victim to the brutality of a master, and parading such a 
case as an example of slavery, would occasionally show, 
as a picture of the institution, some of the slave gentry, 
who are to be found anywhere in the cities, towns, and 
on the large farms of the South, leading careless, lazy, 
and impudent lives, treating white freemen with super- 
ciliousness if they happen to he poor, and disporting 
themselves with airs of superiority or indifference before 
everybody who does not happen to be their particular 
master. Pictures drawn as equally from this large class 
of our slave population, as from the more abject, would, 
I am sure, soon convert some of your Northern notions 
of the institution of slavery. 

I must admit to you that I have the most repulsive 
feelings toward negro gentlemen. When I see a slave 
above his condition, or hear him talk insultingly of even 
the lowest white man in the land, I am strongly tempt- 
ed to knock him down. Whenever Mrs. Lively tells 
her very gentlemanly dining-room servant that he car- 
ries his head too high, I make it a point to agree with 
her : and whenever she threatens to have him " taken 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 57 

down a button-hole lower," I secretly wish that I had 
that somewhat mysteriously expressed task to perform 
myself. Of all things I cannot bear to see negro slaves 
affect superiority over the poor, needy, and unsophisti- 
cated whites, who form a terribly large proportion 
of the population of the South. My blood boils when I 
recall how often I have seen some poor " cracker," 
dressed in striped cotton, and going through the streets 
of some of our Southern towns, gazing at the shop 
windows with scared curiosity, made sport of by the 
sleek, dandified negroes who lounge on the streets, 
never unmindful, however, to touch their hats to the 
" gem'men " who are " stiff in their heels," {i. e. have 
money) ; or to the counter-hoppers and fast young gents 
with red vests and illimitable jewelry, for whom they 
pimp. And consider that this poor, uncouth fellov/, 
thus laughed at, scorned and degraded in the estimate 
of the slave, is a freeman, beneath whose humble garb 
is a heart richer than gold — the heart of a mute hero, 
of one who wears the proud, though pauper, title of the 
patriot defender of the South. 

I love the simple and unadulterated slave, with his 
geniality, his mirth, his swagger, and his nonsense ; I 
love to look upon his countenance, shining with content 
and grease ; I love to study his affectionate heart ; I 
love to mark that peculiarity in him, which beneath all 
his buffoonery exhibits him as a creature of the tender- 



58 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

est sensibilities, mingling his joys and his sorrows with 
those of his master's home. It is of such slaves that I 
have endeavored, in the preceding letters, to draw some 
feeble pictures. But the " genteel " slave, who is in- 
oculated with white notions, affects superiority, and ex- 
changes his simple and humble ignorance for insolent 
airs, is altogether another creature, and my especial 
abomination. 

I have no horror, dear C, of imported savage slaves 
from Africa. I have no doubt that they would prove 
tractable, and that we would find in them, or 
would soon develop, the same traits of courage, humor, 
and tenderness, which distinguish the character of the 
pure negro everywhere. 

"When I was last through the country here, I made 
the acquaintance of a very old "Guinea negro," Pom- 
pey by name, who had been imported at an early age 
from the African coast ; and a livelier, better-dispo- 
sitioned and happier old boy I have never met with. 
The only marks of African extraction which Pompey 
retained in his old age, were that he would talk Gruinea 
" gibberish " when he got greatly excited, and that he 
used occasionally some curious spells and superstitious 
appliances, on account of which most of the negroes 
esteemed him a great " conjurer." ' Pompey is a 
very queer old fellow, and his appearance and won- 
derful stories inspire the young with awe. He looks 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 59 

like a little, withered old boy ; and the long, fantastic 
naps of his wool give him a mysterious air. According 
to his story, he once travelled to Chili through a subter- 
ranean passage of thousands of miles. He also is occa- 
sionally bribed to exhibit to his young mass'rs, the im- 
pression of a ring around his body, apparently produced 
by the hug of a good strong rope, but which he solemn- 
ly avers was occasioned by his having stuck midway in 
a keyhole, when the evil witches were desperately at- 
tempting to draw him through that aperture. 

Pompey had married a " genteel" slave woman, a 
maid to an old lady of one of the first families of Caro- 
lina, and lived very unhappily with his fine mate, be- 
cause she could not understand " black folks' ways." 
It appears that Pompey frequently had recourse to the 
black art to inspire his wife with more affection for him ; 
and having in his hearing dropped the remark, joking- 
ly, one day, that a good whipping made a mistress love 
her lord the more, I was surprised to hear Pompey speak 
up suddenly, and with solemn emphasis, "Mass'r Ed'rd, 
I bleve dar is sumthin' in dat. When de 'ooman get 
ambitious'''' — ^lie means high-notioned and passionate — 
" de debble is sot up against you, and no use to honey 
dat chile ; you jest got to beat him out, and he bound 
to come out 'fore the breath come out, anyhow." I am 
inclined to recommend Pompey's treatment for all "am- 
bitious " negroes, male or female. 



60 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

By way of parenthesis, I must tell you how Pom- 
pey's mistress scolds him. He is so much of a boy, 
that she has imperceptibly adopted a style of quizzing 
him and holding him up to ridicule, to which he is very 
sensitive. I will just note the following passage be- 
tween the two : In the absence of the butler, Pompey 
is sometimes called to the solemn office of waiting on 
the table, at which elevation he is greatly pleased. 
Imagine the scene of a staid and orderly breakfast, at- 
tending on which is Pompey, having a waiter tucked with 
great precision under his arm, and presenting the appear- 
ance of a most complacent self consequence. Unluckily, 
however, making some arrangement in the pantry, he 
produces a nervous jostle of china. " Pompey, Pom- 
pey," cries. his mistress, "what are you doing? Ah, 
Pompey, you are playing with the little mice, ain't 
you ?" Pompey, in a fluster of mortification at this 
accusation, denies playing with "little mice." All, yes, 
Pompey, I know you want to have a little play — here, 
Martha, Sally, take Pompey out into the yard and let 
him play." The two maid-servants approach poor old 
uncle Pompey in a most serious manner, to take him 
out to play, but he shoves them aside, and crestfallen, 
and with bashful haste, retreats from the room; while 
the two women solemnly keep alongside of him, as if 
really intent upon the fulfilment of the orders of their 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 61 

mistress, to put the old fellow through a course of gam- 
bolling on the green. 

Pompey is greatly cut up by such scoldings ; and to 
be made a jest of before the genteeler and more precise 
servants, is his especial punishment and pain in this 
world. 

I must confess for myself a strong participation in 
Pompey 's contempt for " town niggers," Whenever he 
espies a sable aristocrat, he uses the strongest expression 
of disgust, " dam jumpy fish," etc. ; and then he will 
discourse of how a good nigger should do his work 
soberly and faithfully, illustrating the lesson always by 
indicating what he does, while Henry, a more favored 
slave, has nothing, according to Pompey's account, to 
do, but to recline in an easy chair and eat " cake." I 
agree with Pompey, as to what constitutes a useful and 
respectable negro, and tell him that we shall soon have 
some such from the country from which he came, at 
which prospect he is greatly pleased. " Ah, Mass'r," 
says he, " dat is de nigger dat can do your work ; he 
de chile dat can follow arter the beast, like dis here," 
tugging away and gee-hawing while he speaks, at the 
hard mouth of a stupid m.ule, with which he is plowing 
in the garden. " But I tells you what, Mass'r Ed'rd," 
continues Pompey, impressively, " no matter how de 
dam proud black folks hold der head up, and don't love 
de mule, and don't love de work, and don't love nothing 



62 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

but de ownselves, I tells you what, I ain't but nigger 
nohow ; and I tells you, and I tells 'em all, de nigger 
and de mule am de axle-tree of de ivorld." 

The truth is, my dear friend, we want more such 
slaves in the South as Pompey, who while they can 
speak such honest and brilliant sentiments, wiU. also be 
as humble in their hearts and as faithful to their work 
as he, and who will sustain the car of progress over all 
obstacles in the path of Southern destiny. 

Yours truly, e. a. p. 

To D. M. C, Esq., New- York. 



LETTER V. 

Charleston, South Carolina, 1858. 

My Dear C : In your rejoinder to my letter on 

the subject of the slave trade, which was touched upon but 
lightly and incidentally, you charge me with preaching 
" disunion doctrine," and say, that " I have overlooked 
the political consequences to this country of re-opening 
the African trade," and that "the first consideration 
should be, that this commerce could not be opened with- 
out risking the Union." I cannot, dear C, rest in silence 
under the charge of paying no regard in my recom- 
mendations for the legalization of the slave trade, to the 
peril in which it may place the permanency of the Union, 
especially when I am confident, if 'my memory does not 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 63 

greatly deceive me, of having suggested in my former 
letter (which you read cursorily, I suppose) that this 
commerce, by strengthening and satisfying the South, 
would confirm the bonds by which the two sections are 
united. I shall therefore vary somewhat from the origi- 
nal design of the correspondence, not indeed to go into 
a political discussion, but to call your attention to the 
relation which the proposition to re-open the slave trade, 
or the general proposition to strengthen and develop the 
South by new systems of labor, bears to the always in- 
teresting question of the perpetuation of " the glorious 
Union." 

But in the first place, my dear friend, I must say that 
I do not agree with your judgment, that the slave trade 
cannot be re-opened by us except by infraction of our 
statute and treaty law. I contend, on the contrary, that 
the commerce in African labor can be carried on under 
the permission of existing laws. Observe that the 
African may be imported of his own will, as an appren- 
tice, for any number of years ; and when he arrives in 
the South, what is there to prevent him (although you 
say he cannot alienate his liberty) from accepting induce- 
ments to live in bondage ? This I grant you, would be 
practically the re-opening of the African slave trade ; 
but where exists the law that can suppress a trade which 
buys labor, not liberty, and which is really, in a legal 
point of view, conducted on the basis of enfranchise- 



64 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

ment. You may cry out that this is an evasion of the 
law ; and I will simply answer, that you will find that 
it very often becomes necessary to evade the letter of 
the law in some of the greatest measures of social hap- 
piness and patriotism. 

I sincerely believe, dear C, that with the slave trade 
movement, rests in a measure the great political problem 
of the day, viz. : the just elevation of the general con- 
dition of the South, as an integral part of the Federal 
Union. 

It is evident that the great want of the South is a 
sufficiency of labor. Certainly no equal part of the 
globe can vie in sources of wealth with the belt of cot- 
ton territory in America, which, it is estimated, is ca- 
pable of producing twenty millions of bales of the snowy 
fleece of modern commerce. Add to this the consider- 
ation, that within the borders of the South, owing to 
the singular advantages of a climate that partakes of an 
inter- tropical temperature, and enjoys in its change of 
seasons the peculiarities of the temperate zone, is a 
country capable of a greater variety of crop and agri- 
cultural product, than any other territory of equal size 
on the face of the globe. To develop this occult wealth ; 
to introduce on the soil the many varieties of tropical 
vegetation of which it is capable — the olive, the cam- 
phor, and the cork tree ; to bring into cultivation the 
thirty thousand square miles of cotton-producing land, 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 65 

which is now lying unproductive ; to multiply by almost 
infinite processes the product of our great staple, which 
now, under all disadvantages, is said to increase, accord-- 
ing to an average calculation, three per cent., or about 
eighty thousand bales annually ; to expand our agricul- 
ture and infuse into it new sphit ; and to make the 
golden age of the most splendid fables of history our 
own, there are but wanting labor and the energy to em- 
ploy and direct it. To attain this desideratum we have 
no other hope except the importation of labor from 
Africa. 

The proposition to re-open the slave trade may be 
most truly characterized as a measure to strengthen and 
elevate the South in the Union ; and this b"eing the con- 
dition of the perpetuation of the Union to^us, as em- 
phatically a conservative policy. In brief, dear C, the 
slave trade proposition means Union and conservatism. 

The policy which I avow is, that the South shall 
secure to herself the utmost amount of prosperity and 
strengthen herself in the Union, which, as sure as the gen- 
tle hastenings-on of time, can only be preserved on this 
condition. This policy, then — the only one to save the 
Union — even if adopting extremest measures, is ever 
the truly " conservative " one. 

I must confess to you, that I have the greatest contempt 
for that time-serving and shallow policy of many false 
politicians in our section, who decry a measure of South- 



66 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

ern patriotism, in order to conserve our party^ interest in 
the North. I refer to the counsels of a certain class of 
politiciansj who tell us that our party alliance at the 
North will be hazarded by free discussion at the South, 
and that it is to he cemented hy our abandonment of 
the proposition to re-openfthe slave trade. Now. [ truly 
honor our democratic allies in the North ; but as a 
Southerner, I am not disposed (and I am sure, dear C, 
for one you would not demand of me) to sacrifice to their 
prejudices any measure of domestic policy which it is 
at once our right and our paramount duty to decide on 
for ourselves. "Was the South to yield up Kansas " for 
the sake of the party ?" Is this the beginning of the 
end ? As Grtfd is my judge, I forswear, forever, this 
false polic^in the South, to sacrifice any interest of hers 
to the consolidation or prestige of a party. 

To the policy to strengthen a party, I would place in 
antithesis the policy to strengthen the South. 

The South, my dear C, is approaching a critical stage 
in her political history, when she must act, if ever, for 
herself. The tendency to her enslavement, ruin, and 
dishonor, must be avoided by constitutional measures, 
or changes of domestic policy. The question is, how can 
the Union be preserved under the sanctities of the Con- 
stitution, and on terms of equal rights and equal advan- 
tages — ^how can the decline of the South be arrested — 
how can she be saved ? She has now no means to de- 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 67 

velop her resources pari passu with the rapid progress, 
in this respect, of the North ; she is unable, fsom want 
of labor, to expand her agriculture, or to follow where 
enterprise beckons ; her public spirit wanes under her 
disabilities, and her constant sense of dependence on the 
markets and manufactures of the North ; she is being 
constantly weakened by party identifications ; her politi- 
cal prestige is gone ; her peculiar institution has to 
bear a burden of censure, under which, even the best 
men of the South think it must sink, unless strength- 
ened by new measures ; the common territories of the 
Republic are being steadily closed to it ; the black lines 
of free-soilism, in which it must languish and die, are 
being drawn around it, and the dregs of the poison cup 
are at our lips. In all plainness, what is to become of 
the South, if she is to remain in the Union without a 
change of policy ? How is she to fulfil the necessities 
of progress and self-development, unless means to do so 
are provided by herself ? How is she to be rescued from 
the fate which she has brought upon herself, and which 
now impends ? The Democratic party. cannot save her. 
The President cannot save her. She must save herself ? 
Will she do it ? Let every patriot of the South 
answer for himself. Let him resolve that she shall not 
be argued into repose. Let him resolve that the inven- 
tions of policy to restore her strength, and at once raise 
and confirm her in the Union, shall not be hooted out by 



68 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

party cries of " peace !" Let him resolve that she shall 
not rest 'in the supine embrace of party alliances. Let 
him resolve that she shall he called to the necessity of 
strengthening herself by independent measures of pros- 
perity and power, within the terms, as such a policy 
must he, of honorable rivalry and of the Constitution. 

Nor shall we, patriots of the South, despair of the 
result ! E-ather would we turn from the panic fears of 
disunion to the hopes of victory in new measures of 
Southern independence. For myself, I respect disunion 
only for its sincerity of motive ; commended as it is, too, 
by many minds, and actuated as it may be by a gener- 
ous spuit ; but alas ! one 

" Turned aside 
From its bright course by woes and wrongs and pride." 

And yet, dear C, I regard disunion as unconsciously in- 
volving a moral cowardice, which puts to blush the 
courage of our land. Let the South, say I, stand or fall 
by the Constitution ! True courage would dictate this 
course, even if the hope of ultimate victory, in the fact of 
the South's holding the balance of political power, did not 
commend it. The hard-fought field of constitutional 
contest should not be forsaken by the South for shelter 
beneath a divided flag ; but the battle should be contin- 
ued with the same weapons, while new exertions should 
be put forth to conquer by the power of the Constitution, 
We see, indeed, the necessity of following up each vie- 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 69 

tory, and of devising new measures of Southern advan- 
tage and development ; and to this necessity and its de- 
mand of a new policy, let us, ye true men of the South, 
God helping us, be true ! But disunion is not a neces- 
sity. No ! not a necessity as long as patriots still keep 
the field under the banner of the Constitution ; and the 
prize of valor there is the victory of peace. 

Yours truly, e. a. p. 

To D. M. C. Esq., New York. 



LETTER YI. 

Oakeidge, Virginia, 1858. 

My Dear C : The last lines I sent you from dear 

old Yirginia, from the retirement of BriarclifF, were 
written in one of my fits of meditation, and I fear con- 
veyed you but little of interest concerning my visit to 
the old familiar haunts of earlier days. 

I have since been making a round of visits to "the 
kin," and I have been travelling most of the way on a 
canal-boat, at the rate of four miles an hour. Rather 
slow progress, surely ; but I have not lacked for 
pastime. In the first place, I had to wait for " the 
packet," as the codgers call it, at a solitary "lock- 
house," where a bed could not be had for love or money, 
from night-fall until 3 o'clock next morning. But then 



70 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

I had some charming companions in my vigils. A 
sweet, gentle lady, with her little hoy, was there, and 
with agreeable and modest conversation beguiled the 
hours; and this lady, who kept her uncomplaining 
watch in the rude cabin, and who was dressed so plain- 
ly, and who even deigned to enter into the fun of a com- 
pany of boisterous humbly-born girls, who also occupied 
the room, was, as I learned, the next morning, really one 
of the F. F. Vs, for she was met at the lock where she 
landed by her father, whom I at once recognized as one 
of the most distinguished politicians and gentlemen of 
the Old Dominion. She did not even forget to say fare- 
well to the boisterous "Bet" and her tora-boy com- 
panions, who had so vexed the drowsy ear of the night 
before. 

The boat-horn wailed out as the locks opened, and as 
I glided down the big, dirty ditch along the James, I 
turned for consolation to Bet, who in all the charms of 
rural beauty, was watching from the deck the scenery 
of the canal. 

Bet was a rural curiosity, indeed — a pretty, coarse, 
and very ungrammatical girl, whose chief amusement 
the night before had been surreptitiously emptying 
gourds of water over the jieads of her drowsy compan- 
ions. Bet had been quite sociable with me through the 
night ; but now that she was aboard the packet, she 
treated me with disdainful coolness. Approaching 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 71 

her, I hazarded the old hackneyed remark of canal 
travellmg, that " I hoped Miss Bet was not suffering 
from sea-sickness." " No, she warn't sick a hit." A 
pause, and then I ventured to ask " if Miss Bet pro- 
ceeded as far as Richmond." "No, it was too fur rer.'' 
The cause of her reticence and disdain was soon dis- 
covered. I found, to my discomfiture, that Bet had 
recognized an old heau in the steersman, whose city 
manners and glass and copper jewelry had quite ex- 
tinguished me in her eyes. A dog-eared album told the 
story plainly. The following tribute I managed to 
transcribe literally, as with slow and jealous delibera- 
tion, I turned over the leaves of the record of Miss Bet's 
charms and conquests : 

" When I from tliee, dear maid, sliall part, 
Shall leave a sting in each other's hearts, 
I to some grove shall make my moan, 
Lie down, and die, as some has done. 

(Signed) " Phil. Toolet." 

At last I reached my point of disembarkation, and I 
summarily dismiss Bet from my mind. I see again the 
beautiful mountains of the Blue Hidge in the distance, 
and the woods stretching far away across level plains 
to their base. How lovely it all looked, especially when 
with the whole scene were associated a thousand mem- 
ories. In my |^ childhood I had looked upon these dis- 
tant peaks, and wondered about them. How much 



72 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

nearer and smaller they appeared now than when I saw 
them through the eyes of youth ! — yet still beautiful, 
ever pointing through sunlight and tlnough cloud to 
heaven, ever unchanging in their rohes of blue, ever 
putting on at the .same hours the purple and gilt of 
evening ! 

Having landed at W village, I prepare to pur- 
sue my journey on horseback. I disembark with an old 
gentleman, who, in the course of the voyage, had managed 
to convey to me the mformation that hewas a judge from 
Alabama, and had travelled a thousand miles on the 
" steam cars," and who had delighted the whole boat's 
crew and company with his learning and sententious- 
ness, having advanced in a learned geological discussion 
in the cabin of the canal boat " that the vein of water 
was like the human vein," which illustration summari- 
ly closed all argument as to the distribution of subter- 
ranean waters. The old fellow was sound on the liquor 
question though, and proved himself "a judge" of 
good whiskey before retiring to his virtuous couch in the 
old " Rock Tavern." The sun was high when the black 
boy "Washington" roused me from my slumbers. 
Having bestowed " a quarter " on Washington, in 
abundant gratitude for which he wished to know " if 
mass'r didn't want his footses washed " — an ablution 
which the slaves of Virginia constantly perform for their 
masters with little noggins of warm "svater — I took up 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 73 

my journey along the old, red clayey road to the local 
habitation of my dear, respected old uncle. Here I 
spent a few days of delightful happiness, especially in 
company with my pretty cousin with the Roman name. 
But having found out that kissing cousins was no long- 
er fashionable in Virginia, and that it excited my dear 
aunt's nerves, with one last lingering kiss of the sweet 
lips, I had my little leather Chinese trunk packed on 
the head of a diminutive darkey, and again embarked 
upon the James river and Kanawha canal. 

After a round of visits to others of "the Jcin," I at last 
find myself the guest of that most excellent and be- 
loved old lady. Miss R., and strolling about over the 
beautiful lawns and green affluent fields of Oakridge 
farm. 

In the bright day, with the light and shade chasing 
each other over the fields where I wandered in youth, I 
recall many a laughing and many a sorrowing memory. 
I cannot write of all these. I must pursue the sketch 
of the slave, which is, indeed the prominent figure in 
the early associations of all home-bred sons of the 
South. 

I find the old, familiar, black faces about the house. 
Uncle Jeames, the dining-room servant, is an old, de- 
cayed family negro, wearing a roundabout, and remark- 
able for an unctuous bald head, unadorned by hat or cap. 
Miss R., who has known him since he was a boy, still 



74 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

addresses him by the name of " Jimhoo." Uncle Jimhoo 
has a good deal of slave-pride, and is anxious to appear 
to visitors as one of great dignity and consequence in 
household affairs. He is especially proud of his position 
as general conservator of the order and security of the 
household, and any interruption of his stilted dignify is 
very painful to liim. Devoted to his mistress, he assumes 
the office of her protector. Having in one of his winter 
patrols, according to his account, been chased by some 
forgotten number of "black bars," and having valiantly 
whipped " the king bar," and put the others to flight, it 
remains that he is afraid of nothing in the world " but a 
gun." 

Peace to Uncle Jimboo! May his days never be short- 
ened by the accidents of his valiant service! I can 
never expect to see the old man again ; he is passing 
away ; but, thanks to G od, he, the slave, has not to go 
down to the grave in a gloomy old age, poverty-stricken 
and forgotten ; he has a beloved mistress near by to pro- 
vide for him in the evening of his life — a rare mistress, 
who, distinguished in her neighborhood for hospitality and 
munificence, has delighted also to adorn herself with 
simple and unblazoned charities to the humblest of all 
humanity — the poor, dependent, oft-forgotten slave. 

And there is Tom, too, the hopeful son of Uncle Jim- 
boo, a number one boy of about thirty, splendidly made, 
and of that remarkable type of comeliness and gentility 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 75 

in the negro — an honest, jet-black, with prominent and 
sharp-cut features. When I was a boy I esteemed Tom 
to be the best friend I had in the world. He was gene- 
rally employed as a field hand, occasionally, however, at 
jobs about the yard, waited upon the table when there 
Was "company," and on Sundays he rode in the capacity 
of footman on the little seat behind the old, high-swung, 
terrapin-backed carriage to church. I had a great boyish 
fondness for him, gave him coppers, stole -biscuits for 
him from the table, bought him a primer and taught 
him to read. 

There appears to have grown up a terrible rivalry for 
supremacy in the kitchen between Tom and his daddy. 
As time progresses. Uncle Jimboo becomes impressed 
with the prospect of being supplanted by his smart son, 
and, in consequence, he is very jealous and depreciatory 
of Tom. According to the former's account, Tom is a 
stupid boy, and is "good for nothing 'cept meat and bread." 
On the other hand, it is quite shocking to witness Tom's 
disrespect to his ancient daddy, whom he calls by no 
other name than "de nigger," and whom he artfully rep- 
resents as " mighty shackling," and as making the last 
stage of life. The parental relation is completely ignored. 

Here, too, lives Aunt Judy, who is associated with my 
earliest recollections of the days of boyhood. Especially 
do I remember the intensity of her religious sentiment, 
and how, for the faith of every assertion that any one 



76 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

ventured to dispute, she would appeal to the "judgment 
seat of G-o-d." Her hymns, her fah-y tales, her tradi- 
tions of old Sa-tan, her " shoutings " at meeting, her 
loud and ostentatious prayers among the alder hushes 
and hriars of the brook — which latter used to he to 
us hoys a great exhibition — are yet fresh in memory. 
How well do I remember the wonderful stories, with 
which she used to fill our youthful minds with awe, su- 
perstition, and an especial dread of being alone in dark 
rooms. "We were told by her of every variety of ghosts, 
of witches that would enter through the key -hole and 
give us somnambulic rides through the thickets and bogs, 
and worse than all, of awful and terrible visions that 
had been afforded her of the country of the dead. She 
had a superstitious interpretation for everything in 
nature. In our childhood we were even induced by 
her to believe that the little bird which sang plaintively to 
our ears was the transmigrated soul of a little child that 
had been the victim of the cannibalism of its parents, 
and that it was perpetually singing the following touch- 
ing words : 

" My mammy kill me, 
My daddy eat me, 

All my brudders and sisters pick my bones. 
And tbro-w tliem under tbe marbb stones." 

Unfortunately, however, for the credit of Aunt Judy's 
Christianity, she was always very passionate, and our 
boyish plaguing of her was sometimes replied to in great 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 77 

bitterness. Dick, who was always ahead in plaguing, 
had no other name for the old woman, who was a great 
exhorter in colored congregations, hut " the Preacher," 
or sometimes " Old Nat Turner." It was especially on 
religious subjects, which we found to be tender ones with 
Aunt Judy, that we thoughtlessly — but ah, how wrongly 
— delighted to tease and annoy her. Under pretence of 
delivering some message from head-quarters, Dick would 
call to her with an ordinary countenance, and have her 
come very near him, when he would bawl out, taking 
to his heels at the same instant, " I say. Preacher, what 
text are you going to preach from to-day." " Go 'way, 
boy," would scream out Aunt Judy, "I ain't gwine 
preach from nothing ; if you want to hear preaching, 
go and hear your own color." 

All the warning about the trasric fate of Nat Turner 
which Dick would give, Aunt Judy greatly despised, 
and would retaliate by asking that young moralist what, 
when he was " put an the lef ' hand," which she assumed 
as a fixed fact, he was "gwine to say to black folks 
preacher den ?" 

From Aunt Judy's sentence of poor Dick it might be 
inferred that he was a bad boy. And so he was, after 
a fashion ; and I fear that in this respect my humble 
self was only behind him in years. 

When I was an eleven-year-old, "white-headed," 
irascible little boy, Dick, the elder brother, and myself 



78 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

were perpetually at fisticuffs, and the negroes would 
often egg us on to fight each other, which we would do 
in the most passionate manner. We used to have some 
downright terrible fights. Whenever we were captured 
by some vigilant house servant in the midst of hostilities, 
or were informed upon, we were made to smart under 
the rod, and what was more painful to the proud and 
angry spirit of each, we were made to kiss each other, 
while our beloved mother in vain spoke to us lessons of 
brotherly love. We hated each other thoroughly, I be- 
lieve. How curious, indeed, are these boyish animosities 
between brothers, which in progressing manhood are so 
often converted into the most passionate loves ! 

How distinctly, how sadly, do I recollect one dark, 
cloudy morning in the years of our boyhood, when I ran 
away from home to escape well-deserved punishment for 
a fight I had had with Dick. Ah, how painfully do we 
revert to the memories of youth — the memories of our 
reckless wounding of the hearts that loved us best ! 
My dear mother was at first not disquieted on account 
of my absence ; she naturally thought that I had hid 
myself somewhere about the yard, and would soon 
return, sullen and slouching, as usual, to submit myself 
to the punishment I so well deserved. But as the morn- 
ing wore away, and I came not, she became uneasy. 
Inquiry for me was set afoot among the negroes. 
Uncle liewis, the cook, testified that " de last he see of 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 79 

mass'r Ed'rd, he was running straight down toward the 
crik." My poor mother was instantly thrown into the 
most violent and heart-rending anxiety. The creek, 
which was fed by a number of mountain streams, and 
often overflowed its banks, had risen^ and was still rising 
from the recent rains ; and it was certain that if I had 
attempted to cross the stream, which was not improbable, 
as I had often waded across its shallows at ordinary 
times, I would have been drowned in its swollen waters. 
The painful fears of my mother could not be quieted ; 
they communicated themselves to those around her, and 
in an agony of tears she ordered instant search to be 
commenced for me along the creek and over all parts of 
the farm. Many of the negroes were mounted on horses 
to scour the fields, and the tutor and the whole school, 
including brother Dick, who trotted along in tears, joined 
in the search. 

I was eventually discovered, but not until near night- 
fall, by Smith, the head slave, who carried me home on 
the back of the cart horse, " Old Windy Tom," in spite 
of my remonstrances and kicking. He was very short 
to all I had to say, which was little, as Windy Tom, who, 
for my particular punishment I believe, was kept in a 
high trot through the whole distance, jolted all argument 
out of me. I could only understand from Smith, that 
my mother was in a dangerous state from the excite- 
ment of her grief ; that I ought to be "hooped all to 



80 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

pieces ; " and whenever I remonstrated at his restraint 
of my liberty, the answer was that he warn't " fraid of 
my fuss," and that my "mar' knew what he was doing 
for her and hern." 

Approaching the house I heard cries of anguish. My 
poor mother imagining me to be dead, was bewailing me 
with all the tears and agony of a devoted parent. Alas, 
how my conscience smote me ! With my own cheeks 
wet with penitent tears, I presented myself to my dear 
mother, who covered me with embraces and kisses, and 
wept over me with happy forgiving tears. 

"Would to G-od I had been made to suffer pain equiva- 
lent to what I had inflicted upon the heart that loved 
me best in all this world ! Going astray in maturer 
life, wandering away among its shadows, selfish, un- 
reflecting, careless of that watchful and searching love 
which never forsakes, never forgets, and never ceases to 
watch and pray for the return of "the son that was lost," 
I have found the same easy, weeping forgiveness that 
took me into its arms the dreary night that I came home 
from the woods. I could offend and offend, ever in the 
hope of seeking that forgiveness at the last, and ever 
with the cheating comfort of amendment soon. One 
being on earth remained to fly to — one from whom to ob- 
tain forgiveness again and again as life wore on. Now — 
oh, my God, now I can only in tears look up to the skies, 
look to the beautiful, imaging clouds of heaven, and 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 81 

beseecli the forgiveness of the angel-spirit that I see 
there resting and returning nevermore. 
Yours truly, 



E. A, P. 



To D. M. C, Esq., K Y. 



LETTER VII. 

Briaecliff, Virginia, 1858. 

My Dear C : In reflecting on the subject of 

negro slavery m this country, I have been greatly im- 
pressed by a characteristic, which, I think, has never 
been sufficiently recognized and dwelt upon ; and which 
most honorably distinguishes it from other systems of 
slavery known to the world. Consider, dear C, that the 
American institution of slavery does not depress the 
African, but elevates him in the scale of social and re- 
ligious being. It does not drag him down from the con- 
dition of free-citizenship and frorn membership in organ- 
ized society to slavery ; but it elevates him from the 
condition of a nomad, a heathen, a brute, to that of a 
civilized and comfortable creature, and gives to him the 
priceless treasure of a saving religion. Other institu- 
tions of slavery are found, generally speaking, forest 
on systems of disenfranchisement and debasement. 
Look, for instance, at the Roman slavery. Its victims 
were obtained in war ; they came generally from the 



82 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

ranks of enemies as civilized as the Romans themselves ; 
or — more horrible still — they came from the ranks of 
their own free and co-equal citizens, who might be sold 
for terms of years by their parents in their non-age, or 
by their creditors for debt. Thus their institution of 
slavery w^as founded on the debasement of man; it 
was anti-progressive, depressing, barbarous. How free 
is the, American institution of negro slavery of such 
ideas ! It rests on the solid basis of human improve- 
ment. And in this respect, does its elevated spirit con- 
cur with the progress of civilization and of the religion 
of Christ, that, like the winds of Heaven, moves in its 
mysterious ways, gathers on its wings to and fro, and 
never is at rest. 

Surely, God proceeds mysteriously to us in His works 
of love and redemption. While missionary efforts have 
proved, generally, so unavailing in the conversion of the 
heathen, we find great institutions and events in the 
common history of humanity used as instruments in 
the enlarging work of the redemption of man. We 
discover this in all that we know of human progress. 
The translation of African savages from their country as 
slaves — a great, improving and progressive work of human 
civilization — we also discover to be one of the largest 
works of Christianity, endowing a people with a knowledge 
of the Christian God, and they, in turn, enlightening us 
as to His G-race, and the solemn and precious mystery 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 83 

of the conversion of the soul to Christ. The work of 
gathering to Christ goes on, through all the tumults of 
the world, and notwithstanding its contempt of Grod's 
raieans and its own vainglory. Many developments in 
history, however unmerciful to our eyes, may he seen to 
he turned to the glory of God : and all our prosperity and 
progress is taxed for the completion of the work of the 
redemption of the world. On, on speeds and gathers the 
work in the changes of dynasties, in the founding of hu- 
man institutions, in the intercommunications hetween 
nations, and in all the consummations of man's power on 
earth. Already it is said that the problems of the world 
— the political and social problems, and with them the 
great problem of Christ's religion, are to be aided to 
their solution by the swiftest and .most sovereign agent 
that science has discovered in the world's domain — the 
electric current. Already may we declare glory to the 
Most High, and prophesy — oh, with what beautiful 
strangeness — that the lightnings, the home of which 
verse and the unwritten poetry of our natures have 
placed fast by the Throne of Grod, shall be sent on the 
missions of His love to all the nations of the earth. 

But to return. I think the remarkable characteristic 
of our ^^ peculiar institution," in improving the African 
race humanly, socially, and religiously, is alone suffi- 
cient to Justify it. It would insult it to plead it in 
extenuation. Indeed, dear C, I venture to say that if 

4* 



84 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

nothing else was accomplished in taking the African 
from the gloom and tangles of his forests, and from sav- 
age suffering and savage despair, than bringing him to 
the unutterable riches of Christ, this alone should justify 
and even adorn our institution of slavery in the eyes of 
the Christian world. 

We are accustomed, dear C, to hear of the para- 
mount value of the religion of our Saviour — how far it 
exceeds all that this world can give or can take away. 
But we scarcely appreciate, in the practical intercourse 
of life, the comprehension and force of the truism. The 
best of us do not properly esteem it, in our comparative 
judgment of the condition and happiness of God's 
creatures. What, indeed, is the vainglory of the world, 
the names of free and great, compared to the riches of 
Christ and the ecstacy of a hope in Heaven, which the 
poorest, and, to our earthly eyes, the most suffering por- 
tion of humanity, may enjoy equally with — nay, in 
excess over — the elevated and sumptuous ones of the 
world. 

You have read the story of Rienzi, the last and the 
most august of the Roman tribunes. He made a vow 
by the dying body of a young, sinless brother. In the 
death of those we love, there is a beautiful prompting 
of Providence to order our lives anew. We feel, in the 
depths of our nature — and it is therefore true — that the 
angel spirits of those who were beloved on earth and 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 85 

who worship in Heaven, still watch over us in tender 
sorrow at our worldliness, or in exceeding joy at our 
leaving the fleeting things of earth and coming home to 
them in Christ. But Rienzi, desolated by the death of 
his childish brother and the snapping of the last loved 
tie on earth, did not make the vow that nature 
prompted. He did not resolve to leave his proud man- 
hood, to give up the vanities of his great learning, and 
to go back to childhood, searching in tears for the inno- 
cence he had lost there. He made a vow of bitterness 
— a vow to drown grief in enmity to man, in selfish 
studies, and in the pursuit of glory. And he succeeded 
in the accomplishment of his vow. He mounted the 
throne of the Csesars ; and all that treasure, luxury, or 
art, could yield was made to contribute to the pageantry 
and magnificence of his power. He was hailed by the 
extravagant populace as the deliverer of Rome and the 
arbiter of the world. Standing before the Roman people, 
he unsheathed his sword, brandished it to the three parts 
of the world, and thrice repeated the declaration, " And 
this, too, is mine !" He exhausted in this speech all the 
extravagance of self-glorification. But, alas ! he could 
not do what the humblest Christian slave that waited on 
his pageant might do — point to heaven, and say, in the 
comprehension of all joy and glory, " But this, this is 
mine !" 

Gro, false servitors of Christ, ye who, on the groun*^" ' 



86 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

of religion itself, and in the garb of Grod's ministers, 
assail the institution of negro slavery, that has brought 
the knowledge of Christ to the heathen, and who recom- 
mend its excision by the sword of civil war, go and 
speak to the slave in our own country. Tell him he is 
assigned to an inferior lot, to life-long labor, in which 
he can never be great or rich, and can never taste of the 
applause of this world. And yet, how would you feel 
rebuked, if, pointing to heaven, he should declare, 
" But this is mine." 

He has been plucked from the wilds of Africa, and 
saved to Christ. He is never an infidel, for he does not 
require, to establish his belief in the reality of the Sa- 
viour, expenditures of learning and processes of reason- 
ing, and arguments about the prophecies and the mira- 
cles. He is not reasoned into religion (as no man ever 
truly was) ; but he teaches us, even us, an unlettered 
lesson of religion beyond all price — to cast down the 
pride of reason, and to listen to the voice of the intui- 
tive divine spirit, telling us without argument, virithout 
learning, without price, of the eternal, irresistible truths 
of the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Not for all your saintliness, ye red-nosed shepherds of 
Grod's people, who preach licentiousness and discord, 
and the contentions and parting of brethren, would I 
exchange the simple faith in the Saviour, of the poor, 
ignorant negro slave, whom you affect to pity. He has 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 87 

none of your learned assurance in matters of salva- 
tion ; his ideas of religion may he fantastic, and may 
excite tlie laughter of your superior wisdom, that scorns 
the tender and beautiful ignorance that throws the 
charm of superstition around the lessons and emblems 
of religion ; his notions of his state and calling here may 
never have been edified by your learned jargon about the 
Christian duty of socialism, of rebellion, and of the bap- 
tism of blood ; but the great preacher Jesus Christ has 
spoken to him — not in lessons of discontent, not holding 
out freedom, or riches, or licenses, not addressing the 
lust of the flesh, or the lust of the eye, or the pride of 
life, but in precious consolations, in assurances sweeter 
than learning and research, ever found in their Bibles, 
and in lessons of perfect peace — the peace of the strick- 
en, the weary, and the desolate, in the life everlasting. 
It is true that the slaves' religion is greatly mixed up 
with superstitions, that it is ostentatious and loud, and 
that it has some comical aspects. But in his simple, 
earnest, affectionate, and believing heart, in his ecstasies 
of love for " Mass'r Jesus," and in his tenderness to 
whatever appeals to him in nature, are principles of re- 
ligion as saving, I venture to say, as the precise creeds, 
and the solemn and exact manners of the churchmen. 
Many a death-scene have I witnessed among the slaves 
on the old plantations, and many a time have I seen 
those whose untutored and awkward religious profes- 



88 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

sions amused me when a thoughtless youth, yet dying 
with the sustainment of that religion, joyfully, and with 
exclamations of triumph over the grave. No Christian 
philosopher, no preacher of politics or creeds, could add 
to that triumph and joy eternal, or could diminish 
the ecstasy of that inner assurance of Heaven by weigh- 
ing the hopes of the poor slave's salvation in doubting 
scales. 

Precious is the memory of the dead ! And precious 
to me, my beloved friend, is the memory of the black 
loved ones who left me in the thoughtless, unremember- 
ing, laughing hours of boyhood, for that peaceful shore, 
where, now recollecting and sighing, I would give all of 
earth to meet them. Pressing upon me, and drawing the 
sweet tear from a nature that has long lain in the decay- 
ing embraces of the world, come the memories of youth. 

I have often spoken to you of the old black patriarch, 
"Uncle Nash, who led me by the hand to the preaching 
at the negro quarter every Sunday fortnight. This good 
old Christian man fell in harness, and died with on 
master but Jesus to relieve the last mysterious agonies 
of his death. He died out in the woods, where the 
angel had suddenly come to him. How vividly do I re- 
call the excitement of the search for Uncle Nash, and the 
shock to my heart, of the discovery, in the bright morn- 
ing, of the corpse lying ""among the thick undergrowth, 
and in the whortleberry bushes of the wood. But why 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 89 

lament the old slave, and wail at the terrible sight ! 
The body in its coarse garments, dank with dew, lay- 
there in the bushes, in the loathsomeness of death, but 
the immortal soul had been clothed for the service above, 
in its raiment of glory, and was singing the everlasting 
song in heaven. 

He was buried in the grove, which my eye, from the 
point where I am writing, can catch on the warm hill, 
covered now with the blue blossoms of the thistle. Un- 
usual marks of affection and respect were shown in his 
burial. The funeral services were read before all the 
negroes at the grave, and the younger members of our 
family attended as mourners ; and, according to the 
negro custom, each one of us threw a handful of dirt on 
the coffin lid, as the last farewell. Many years have 
gone by since then, but I can never forget that scene of 
the deep, red grave, in which the old Christian slave 
was laid ; and when the day expires, I revisit the spot 
and read on the white head-board that marks it, the 
■words — " The testimony of the Lord is sure, making" 
wise the simple.^' 

Yours truly, e. a. p. 

To D. M. Esq., New- York. 



90 BLACK DIAMONDS. 



LETTER VIII. 

Addebarry, Maryland, 1858. 

My dear C. : I can recollect that once I entertained 
a belief, and found a dangerous comfort in the common 
doctrine that the physical pains of death were not terri- 
ble, and might generally be endured with ease. My 
present belief differs greatly from this deceitful impres- 
sion. I now believe the pains of this dread change to 
be unutterable, and to surpass all else of the pains and 
sorrows of the flesh in exceeding sharpness. Reason, 
revelation, and the analogies of nature, all seem to me 
to point to this opinion. 

Is it to be supposed, my dear C, that any change in 
nature so great and so vast as that of death — that the 
parting of so many subtil e and close ties as those which 
unite body and soul — is accomplished without great tra- 
vail and agony ! 

It may be that the failing body has not the power of 
demonstrating the last dread agony of the separation. 
That agony may be reserved until the body can no longer 
reveal its pain by demonstration or gesture, and thus be 
mercifully veiled, as it were, from the terror-stricken 
senses of poor, fearful humanity. 

Have you, my dear C, ever witnessed, closely and 
steadily, a scene of natural death ? In the quietest scene 
of this kind, there are yet, I think, terrors to those who 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 91 

exercise reflection and a just imagination uptn its signs. 
How terrible is the cold, cold sweat, the heavy, dragging 
breath, the eye evidently — and it may be really — looking 
upon the veiled figures that stand by the parting soul, 
the gray mist that gathers upon its lids, and the restless 
arms reaching out and swinging in the dizziness of death. 
Oh, how fearful to have to pass through the unknown 
feelings of which these are signs, and to descend into 
the darkness of the last agonies of dissolution ! How 
fearful, how awful to go down into the dark valley, and 
to meet there, in silence to all the world, the last, mys- 
terious, veiled agony of death ! Nothing can avert this 
meeting. "We, dear friend, are to enter the valley, and 
alone there, with the world and friends and all shut out, 
to go down to death — to go down to meet, in secre(5y 
with our G-od, the viewless, shrouded agony of the last- 
Oh, may that God sustain us in those moments '• 
Surely naught else can. Then the comforter prays his 
last, and we have spoken, with the last effort, the last 
hard whisper the curious man extorts — then we leave 
behind all consolations of earth — then the world swims 
around us, and is gone — then our consoling friends fade 
from our sight and disappear — then voice and gesture to 
appeal for sympathy are gone too — then we are gone, 
gone away into the darkness and dumbness of advancing 
death — and then who is there to be with us to sustain 
the spirit in the last and real contest of dissolution that 



92 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

remains ! Who but the precious Saviour, who in Heaven 
remembers the sufferings of Grethsemane and Calvary, 
and who has expressly promised to be with his beloved 
when called upon to tread the same path of nature's tra- 
vail. Oh, how precious is this consolation ! Here, here 
is the sweet lesson of death. 

The impression, my dear C, made upon me by the 
first scene of death I ever witnessed, can never be erased 
or wholly overcome. It is the recollection of it that 
sometimes comes into the career of my life, and stuns 
the heart of joy, and has induced the thoughts I have 
just, in deepest sincerity, expressed of the terrors of 
the dissolution of the earthly tabernacle of the body. 

It was the death of her who had held a place in my 
boyish heart, second only to the beautiful and lasting 
love we draw from community of blood — the death of a 
poor, old, black-skinned woman. The angel of terrors 
struck her in age, disease, and feebleness ; and yet the 
scene of the parting of the spirit was one of the most 
mysterious and appalling struggles that ever yet appealed 
to my eyes. 

Well do I recollect the night of gloom and storm, 
when the all- visiting messenger of death came in the 
darkness to the little log hut, and stood by the old straw 
couch, to demand the fleeting spirit of the old, worn slave. 
The family were awakened by a summons from the doc- 
tor, told in the usual, kind, suppressed manner that Aunt 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 93 

Marie was dying. It "was with a stunned feeling that I 
dressed and hurried out to the cabin. How I recall the 
solemn, relentless sound of the thunder which was 
rolling in the sky as I passed on to the scene of death ! 
It sounded to me as the terrible voice of nature, saying, 
" There is no hope, for I am merciless ; I am insensible, 
and must obey the forces that are in me, for I am 
nature." Never have I heard that voice but onee again, 
and then it was amid the billows of, a raging surf that 
swept over a wreck to which I was clinging, and then the 
sea seemed to say, " I am inexorable, I am obeying exact 
mathematical forces, and what care I for you." Alas ! I 
felt not then that there "was a Grod, to whose dominion 
and mercy man may look for his rescue from the boiling 
waves, from every scene of agony and danger, from 
every merciless law of nature, and even from the dark 
despair of a shipwrecked soul. 

I approached and looked upon the rude bed with a 
beating heart, and yet with a strange curiosity. There, 
with eyes half closed, and with low, sobbing breath, lay 
the lean, worn body of the dying old slave. She was 
out of her senses ; the soul was wandering forth in a 
dark and terrible delirium. Horror-struck, I gazed upon 
the scene of death, and yet curious, eager to note every 
sign of the awful change, stretching forward to see each 
token of agony and each print of death. For twelve 
hours I witnessed that scene, during which" time the 



94 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

dying old slave was in the pains of dissolution, and never 
can I forget that long spell of utter heart-broken agony, 
mingled strangely with the most mysterious caprices of 
thought and fancy. Who, dear friend, can explain this 
curious psychology of the soul — these thoughts of utter 
levity and recollections of rude mirth, that intrude even 
while the broken spirit bewails its loved and lost by the 
couch of death, or in the last heart-rending but beautiful 
office of the burial. 

Watchins: until the sun came out from the night and 
the storm upon the bright meridian of an autumn day, 
I saw Aunt Marie die. She died in a long delirium of 
pain, but not an unbroken one, -as I believe. I watched 
it all — the writhing of those lips, the gaze of dumb ter- 
ror in those eyes as they looked upon the hidden spectres 
and the weary reaching out of the arms above the head, 
that lay in the gathering cold damps of death. The 
doctor said her sane consciousness was utterly gone ; he 
consoled us with this, as we broke out into grief on see- 
ing the agony of the sufferer — he said she probably -felt 
no pain. But who can tell of this ? As the poor sufferer 
lay gasping and darkly struggling, but a few moments 
before the last, the minister came to the bedside and said, 
" Let us pray." Ah, what is she trying to do ? With 
what strange fancy are her hands reaching out and grop- 
ing as if to find something ? The doctor at last divines 
the meaning of the gesture. He joins her hands to- 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 95 

gether — this is what she wanted, to join her weak, 
trembling hands in prayer to Grod. An expression of 
peace hghts up the face for a moment. Thank God, we 
say, that she is not dying in dark unconsciousness — thank 
Grod, that no mortal ever dies, as we may truly believe, 
in unbroken unconsciousness. The prayer is ended ; 
all of earthly consolation is over, and the soul is com- 
mitted to its Grod. A moment, and the lips are moving 
in a whisper. "What is it? "Thanky, Mass'r Jesus," is 
caught from the expiring breath. And now she is with 
her great Master, and has gone. The doctor shuts down 
the eyelids ; she is now in the dark last agony of which 
she cannot testify ; death gives the silent, veiled stroke, 
and the body stretches out, sharp, rigid, dead. 

This death scene, comforted by the man of G^od, and 
watched by white faces wet with tears, was that of a 
slave. But seldom is it, that the slave is left to meet 
his death as the white pauper in his rags and 
desolation. His master and mistress and the white 
family are always by to visit him in this great need 
of humanity. Indeed, when an old, loved slave (as 
Aunt Marie was), who has grown up with the family, 
the handmaiden of the old when they were young, and 
the mammy of the young before they have grown old 
in worldly care, is taken away by the equal hand of 
death, it evokes a sympathy and grief that many a 
white, saintly soul of your Northern Pharisees might 
envy, when he leaves the world unhonored and unwept. 



96 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

There are angels in human form, and doubt it not, dear 
C, even among the slave-owners of the South, One I 
have seen, who to my youth was given, and who won 
my heart to love and worship her forever hy her beautiful, 
angel ministrations at the couch where first I witnessed 
the appalling struggle of death. It was thee, my gentle 
Adelaide ! It was thy calm and holy beauty, as, when 
all around were lost and idle in tlieir grief, you sat 
chafing the cold hands of the poor, dying slave, with 
thy eyes ever raised in sweetest tears to heaven, and re- 
peating the beautiful prayers of your faith f(Jir mercy for 
the departing soul. 

Oh, mystery of the beauty of woman, how does the 
world misunderstand you ! That world you court with 
bright eyes, and gay blandishments, and skilful dress, 
and painted cheeks. But more beautiful than a queen in 
all her lustre was the pale, gentle, brown-haired girl that 
attended the couch of the dying slave she had loved. 
There she sat, with no outburst of grief, pale, quiet, 
self-possessed, keenly alive to every imagined want of 
the dying sufferer, and anon turning her beautiful eyes, 
drowned in tears, to heaven, and repeating during the 
long, long hours the sweet hymns of the church. I had 
often admired some of these hymns ; but an eloquence 
was therein I never before imagined when thou, my gentle 
Addie, with streaming eyes, and in trembling, sweet tones 
which told of the sinner's love of Jesus, pronounced the 
lines : 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 97 

" Ed6k of Ages, cleft for^me, 
Let me Idde myself in thee ; 
Let the watei- and the blood, 
From thy side a healing flood, 
Be of sin the double cure, 
SaTe from wrath, and make me pure. 

" Should my tears forever flow. 
Should my zeal no languor know. 
This for sin could not atone. 
Thou must save, and thou alone ; 
In my hand no price I bring. 
Simply to thy cross I cling. 

" While I draw this fleeting breath. 
When mine eyelids close in death, 
When I rise to worlds unknown. 
And behold thee on thy throne, 
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 
Let me hide myself in thee." 

And SO Aunt Marie died — and numbered is she, the 
old negro, among those whom, with love-lit eyes, I can 
so often see beckoning to me from Heaven. How 
often, and oh, my friend, how plainly have I seen them 
standing on the edges of the white clouds of the day — 
and how often and how lovingly have I seen them float- 
ing on and among the still more heautiful clouds that 
are gathered from the day at the gates of evening! 
Yes, they are all there — the heloved parents, who folded 
their hands meekly in their age and died — the hright 
and noble brother that fell on the stained battle-field — 
the little sister that laid down her life among the flowers 
as a used toy — and with them and among them the 



98 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

dear, old, familiar blacks of my boy's home, their faces 
now shining with a radiance that has no distinguishing 
color of black or white — the radiance that is beyond the 
sun and moon and stars— the radiance of love to God 
and happiness in him. And there they are in sweet rest, 
and all in robes of white. Ever blessed are they in a 
love that knows no heartache, or parting, or reverse, or 
distractions, or degrees, but is even like, unto the love 
of "Him who sitteth upon the Throne." 

* * " "Who to these can turn, 
And weigh them, 'gainst a weeping world like this, 
Nor feel his spirit burn 
To grasp their so sweet bliss ? " 

Yours truly, 

E. A. p. 
To D. M. C, Es(i., N. Y. 



LETTER IX 



Green Mountain, Virginia, 1858. 
My dear C. : It is clear that vain and unprejudiced 
minds are merely provoked by argument. How useless 
then, how worse than idle, to argue with abolitionists ! 
In writing to you, dear friend, of negro life, I have pur- 
posely avoided contentious arguments about slavery. I 
have drawn some few hurried pictures of negro life and 
character, satisfied that the truth told of the Southern 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 99 

slave, in simple descriptions and anecdotes, will do more 
to cultivate wholesome sentiments on the subject of 
negro slavery, than wrangling sermons and essays. It 
is right, however, to state, that these pictures have been 
intended rather as amusements than as lessons. 

In the course of the desultory sketches I have thus 
taken for your amusement, of the dark acquaintances I 
have made or renewed in my Southern sojourns, I have 
reserved for you some account of that most distinguished 
palavarer, romancer, diplomat, and ultimately a cobbler 
of old shoes — Junk. You will doubtless bring the hero 
to mind from the recollections preserved of him by one 
of your household, in whose early Virginia life Junk 
was a prominent figure. He was a short, puffy, copper- 
colored nigger, very greasy, always perspiring, and a little 
lame. "Missis Perline" can tell you of many sore expe- 
riences of Junk's shoe-leather ; and particularly how, 
when by especial privilege, she was mounted on "hip-shot 
Jack" to go to church, Junlc would waylay her in the 
woods at a distance from the house, and claim a lift behind 
her, where, by dint of his best boots and crutch, seconded 
by his young mistress' endeavors with the switch, the 
afflicted horse would be forced into all sorts of shuffling 
excuses for a gallop. 

Junk had not always been a cobbler. To believe his 
own narrative, he had been a circus-rider, an alligator 
hunter, an attache of a foreign legation, and a murderer, 

5 



100 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

stained with the blood of innumerable Frenchmen, with 
whom he had quarreled when on his European tour. 

The fact was that Junk's master was actually once 
sent on a European mission, and proposed at first to take 
our sable hero in his company. Before leaving the limits 
of Yirginia, however, he became alarmed at the risk of 
taking Jank among the abolitionists, and finally disposed 
of him by hiring him out as a shoemaker or cobbler, in a 
town at some distance from our dark hero's former resi- 
dence. Junk never forgave his master for this unlokoed- 
for slight. It cut him hard and deep, for he was a nig- 
ger of "unbounded stomach." As an instance of the 
nice and becoming pride of our hero, it is well known 
that when Junk was in his working habiliments, he 
always professed to belong to the 'man who kept the 
shoe shop, and that it was only when he disported him- 
self in his holiJay attire, that he claimed to belong to 
the minister plenipotentiary. 

But it was when Junk returned to the old plantation 
that his great importance began. He commenced by 
imposing on all the negroes round about, old and young, 
the story that he had actually been to France with his 
master, who still remained there, and that during the 
time he had been missed from the Green Mountain he 
had been lionizing in the famous city of Paris. The 
story took with the innocent darkies and gained Jank 
great fame. He became the oracle of the kitchen, and 



BliACK DIAMONDS. ■ 101 

the negroes would crowd around him on every possible 
occasion, as lie dispensed the eventful experiences of 
his pilgrimage. Some few of the men were skeptical, 
many were envious ; but Junk held his own, and was 
still the especial object of the admiration of the house- 
maids, who gave their sympathy and cheers in every com- 
bat he had with rival beaux as tributes to the truth of his 
information. "Twarnt no use," Miss Irene would re- 
mark, " to talk to niggers that never knowed nothin' bout 
de furrin country and de Parish, where ole raass'r was min- 
ister and out-preached dem all. Didn't Mr. Junk speak 
the langwig ? — and dar is dat nigger, Colin, wid his 
swelled head, must always put in his mouth, and make 
Mr. Junk out a born liar." 

Still Colin would continue skeptical. Junk, however? 
was more than his match,' and had a ready answer for 
every question of the doubting. 

The ideas concerning the French which Junk promul- 
gated among the negroes were somewhat extraordinary. 
He represented them as a good-for-nothing set, much be- 
low the standard of nigger civilization, a sort of puny 
barbarians, who regarded an American darkey as a being 
of great majesty. Junk had slain Frenchmen, had 
treated the little, barbarous nigger-worshippers with 
disdain, and had received from them tokens of great 
distinction. To these points Colin's cross-examinations 
were mainly directed. He doubted Junk's prowess ; he 



103 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

laughed incredulously at liis deeds of blood ; and he 
even went so far as to dispute the assertion of Junk's 
intimacy "wid barbarians dat were white folks," and to 
contend that his friend, the count, was some old "no 
count " nigger he had come across among the be- 
nighted regions outside of Ole Yirginny. 

We boys used often to join the crowd of Junk's listen- 
ers, and would have our own amusement in quizzing 
the- old cobbler. " I suppose, Uncle Junk," Dick would 
say, " when you were in Paris you saw the Palais 
Eoyal." 

"Sawde Paris Laivyers, young mass'r ! Why, in 
course I did. You see when I got dere, I went to de 
courthouse to hear 'em plead. And when I come in, de 
Paris lawyers were pleading in French; but when dey 
seed me, dey den commence pleadin in Amerikin." 

This compliment of the Paris Bar to Junlc would be 
doubted by the skeptical Colin, who would again come 
up to the attack. 

" I say, big hoss, I hope you didn't disgrace Ole Vir- 
ginny by wearing dose boots in de city " — referring 
contemptuously to Junk's immense cowhide boots, which 
showed the deformity of one of his feet. 

But Junk was always ready for the attack ; and im- 
mediately remarked with a serious and gloomy look, 
that he had once killed a certain small Frenchman who 
had insulted his boots. 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 103 

"How was it, Junk?" 

"Well, you see I was walkin in de garden wid my 
breeches tucked down in my boots, when two of dese 
mean Frenchmen come along, and de one to toder cast 
an insult on ray boots, cos you see he didn't know dat 1 
knowd de langwig and could hear him. "Well, I wouldn't 
stan no insult from no Frenchman, no how ; so I jes 
struck him wid my nerves. And one lick was jes enuf — 
it killed de man ; and dey sent for de secretary to sot 
on him." 

"But what did he say about de boots, big boss?" 
would inquire the persistent Colin. 

"Well, you see de man talked French, and tain't 
while to tell dat to poor ignorant black trash like you." 

But Colin was pressing. He wanted to hear Junk's 
French. The housemaids too, desired a specimen of the 
same, if Mr. Junk would, kindly consent to put his 
rival down. "Dat nigger Colin had too much sass any- 
how — Mr. Junk, wonH you please say what d^ French- 
man say ? " 

"Well," replied Junk, with a sudden jerk of conde- 
scension, "de man didn't say much. He say '■Poly glot 
sots,'' and de Amerikin for dat, you know, is ' de boots 
brought de fool.' " 

And while all joined in laughing at Colin's discom- 
fiture. Junk would make his retreat good, walking off 
with a careless and provoking whistle. 



104 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

Poor Junk ! His travels were never more extended 
beyond the slopes of the Grreen Mountain. He was 
settled down as cobbler for the plantation ; unable to 
revisit, except in fancy, the beautiful world he had 
traversed as diplomat, man-slayer and cii'cus-rider — for 
Junk, according to his own account, had also been, in 
his various transmigrations, the star of a circus, and 
was accustomed to perform the feat of bearing five men 
around the ring "on his nerves." 

The last I saw of the old cobbler in his decay, was 
when he was arraigned before a country magistrate, for 
having wounded with a scythe blade a negro on a neigh- 
boring plantation. 

The sum of the evidence was that Junk had been 
surprised in his attentions to Nutty's wife, and in the 
scuffle that ensued had nearly chopped the jealous hus- 
band's arm off. A counter charge of assault and battery 
was also preferred against Nutty. 

The miserable Nutty stood with his wound upon his 
arm exposed to view^, raw and agape, as if to plead for 
him. He had no eloquent advocate to plead for the 
sanctities of his home. He had no wanton judge to 
listen to excuses of insanity. He had no committees of 
matrons to uphold him ; no crawling serpent in the stolen 
livery of Heaven to tell him he had done right. He 
was a slave, and must submit to the law. 

On the other hand. Junk was greatly at his ease, 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 



105 



losing neither his accustomed plausibility nor pompous- 
ness. Of course, being in the presence of his master, 
he was very insolent to the magistrate ; and he gave in 
his evidence with his accustomed falseness, and with an 
air that was by no means conciliatory of mercy, to the 
following effect : 

" Name, Junk Jefferson. Dunno how ole I is — was 
boy 'long wid mass'r Tudor. Never was hooped before 
for nothin' ; never run arter other folk's wives — humph! 
— leave dat to de white folks" (magistrate looks indig- 
nant). " Nutty sassed me all for nothin'. Call me cuss 
words, and beat me. So when he come comvortin round 
me, I teU de nigger go way, I didn't want to hurt him, 
cos you see" — (with magnanimity) — " de chile was much 
younger dan I was. And den when he come gin me, 
and I had a piece of cradle blade in my hand dat I had 
jes found, he hit up he arm 'gainst it, and den he holler 
for de white folks — and den de dog come, and den 'twas 
■ ' Lord foot help body ;' and den you may know how dat 
was, Boss." 

There was no other alternative for the magistrate but 
to sentence Junk to the lash. But it would not do, 
thought the wise man, to grant any great deal more to 
one litigant than another. So poor Nutty was also con- 
demned to punishment. The sentence was, that Junk 
should have thhty-nine lashes, and Nutty, fifty ; those 
for Junk to be laid on by Nutty's overseer, and those for 
Nutty by Junk's overseer. 



106 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

And so the matter was finally arranged to satisfy the 
punctilios of the masters, who attended the trial at the 
cross-road, somewhat in the character of opposite law- 
yers. The whippings v/ere administered on the spot. 
The unhappy and discomfited Nutty took his with the 
touching sing-song of the negro under the lash ; while 
Junkfhmly restrained his voice, hustled on his shirt, and 
left the bowers of justice with a hateful gleam of 
triumph in his eyes. 

.0000. " Equal and exact justice to all men!" Alas, 
the phrase is irony, not only on the slave plantations, 
but on how many other scenes constantly passing before 
us in the history of society and in the dioramas of the 
world. 

"Yours truly, e. a. p. 

To D. M. C, Esq., ]S"ew-York. 



LETTER X. 



"Washington City, D. C, 1858. 

My Dear C : The remarks you have on more 

than one occasion addressed to me, to the effect that in 
both the natural and political course of events in this 
country, slavery was destined to disappear, have induced 
me to pay to this question considerable and especial re- 
flection. And to my mind the question has assumed 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 107 

vast proportions. It has risen above the partisan ques- 
tions of the day — risen above all local and passing excite- 
ments, presenting itself to me as a great problem, 
involving the largest interests of the world. 

In this catholic view, I may treat the question of the 
extension of the negro slavery of the South. Not as a 
question between parties, or between sections, or between 
conflicting prejudices shall I regard it, but as an ele- 
ment to be solved in the mighty problem of who shall 
lead the world's progress, and who shall be the founders 
of its greatest empire of industry. 

It is this question : shall the institution which has 
built up the commerce and industry of such large por- 
tions of the civilized world, that has so identified itself 
with the progress of the age, that is so beneficent to 
national strength and character, that secures the bul- 
warks of social conservatism, that inspires with inde- 
pendence, refines the soul, and nourishes a graceful pride; 
shall an institution at once so powerful and so polishing, 
be condemned to extinction, or shall it continue to 
flourish and gather strength and beneficence in the 
coming time ? 

True, I see with you, my friend, that slavery is losing 
political ground in this country, and that barriers are 
already erected to its extension in the West, (which is 
the present direction of our new settlements) that per- 
haps will never be surmounted. But I see other pros- 
pects. 

5* 



108 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 



Looking into the possibilities of the future, regarding 
the magnijEient country of tropical America, which lies 
in the path of our destiny on this continent, we may 
see an empire as powerful and gorgeous as ever was pic- 
tured in our dreams of history. Wliat is that empire ? 
It is an emphe founded on military ideas ; representing 
the noble peculiarities of Southern civilization ; includ- 
ing within its limits the isthmuses of America and the 
regenerated West Indies ; having control of the two 
dominant staples of the world's commerce — cotton and 
sugar ; possessing the highways of the world's com- 
merce ; surpassing all empires of the age in the strength 
of its geographical position ; and, in short, combining 
elements of strength, prosperity, and glory, such as 
never before in the modern ages have been placed within 
the reach of a single government. 

What a splendid vision of empire ! How sublime in 
its associations ! How noble and inspiriting the idea, 
that upon the strange theatre of tropical America, once, 
if we may believe the dimmer facts of history, crowned 
with magnificent empires and flashing cities and great 
temples, now covered with mute ruins, and trampled 
over by half-^aavages, the destiny of Southern civiliza- 
tion is to be consummated in a glory brighter even than 
that of old, the glory of an empire, controlling the 
commerce of the world, impregnable in its position, and 
representing in its internal structure the most harmoni- 
ous of all the systems of modern civilization. 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 109 

The magnificent ruins of Thebes, 

" The world's gi'eat Empress on the Egyj^tian plain," 

or the snow-white ruins of the ancient city of Pahnyra, 
standing in the yellow sand of the desert, are weU ac- 
counted to be sublime. But standing in the deep shade 
and hush of the tropical forests of America, are similar 
monuments of sublimity, around which, too, we can hear 
voices caUing to us out of the gathered gloom of time. 
In the darkness and tangles of the forest, stand the ruins 
of immense cities and the splendid monuments of a 
strange religion. And it is to these magnificent fields of 
romance that the manifest destiny of the South invites us. 
It is to rebuild these ancient cities, to emulate this ancient 
magnificence, and to found anew the empire of tropical 
America, that our posterity may be called. 

Ever since its first discovery, the Great American 
Isthmus, connecting the two large table lands of North 
and South America has attracted the regards of the 
world. It has particularly excited the jealous and 
grasping spirit of England. And it has been in the 
contest for the control of its transits, that she has 
founded an impostured dominion in Central America ; 
has uniformly thwarted the progress of American inter- 
ests in that quarter ; and has, under the disguise of 
concessions, sought to prevail upon our government to 
renounce all dominion, at any time, in a country marked 
for our inheritance in the future. 



310 " BLACK DIAMONDS. 

Treacherously, has England struggled for the mastery 
in this coiratry. Persistently has she" wronged our gov- 
ernment by the arts and anfractuous cunning of her 
diplomacy. Bat — believe it, dear friend — this cannot 
continue. The day approaches, when the American 
people will take this subject out of the hands of diplo- 
macy. The signs of this approaching day are gather- 
ino-. A aflorious emblem is in the skies. It is that of 
the eagle and the serpent ; the eagle stooping and snatch- 
ing from the earth a glittering serpent, and, as the 
glorious bird sweeps onward and upward with his loud 
scream of exultation, he is seen to tear it in pieces with 
his talons, and the glittering scales are falhng in the 
sunshine. 

What is the "Monroe Doctrine" — the doctrine that 
the American continents are " not to be considered as 
subject for future colonization by any European powers ?" 
What is this but the honored language of self-protecting 
and progressive American liberty ? 

The object, as well as intention, of the enforcement 
of the Monroe doctrine in Central America, would be 
but the legitimate one of a reversion of that country to 
its natural destiny. We are sworn, by a solemn decla- 
r,ation of policy, and by the eternal oath of American 
liberty, to protect the fulfilment of that destiny against 
foreign disturbance ; and if the fact be that such des- 
tiny left free points to our advantage, it only fortifies a 
right, and recommends a duty by policy. 



BLACK DIAMONDS. Ill 

I do not, my dear C, speak of the political fate of 
Central America in the absurd sense, and with the supine 
satisfaction of the fatalist ; but as a history of the 
future, capable of a degree of certainty, and resolving 
itself into a destiny which is morally manifest — one 
made manifest by a history of disorder and crime, and 
assured by the curse of fratricidal blood ! 

One step toward the accomphshment of this destiny ; 
one advance toward the rearing of that great Southern 
Empire, whose seat is eventually to be in Central Amer- 
rica, and whose boundaries are to enclose the G-ulf of 
Mexico, was the memorable expedition of William 
Walker to Nicaragua, invited there by one of its revolu- 
tionary chiefs. 

The objects of that expedition, my dear C, were for a 
long time extensively misunderstood. They are now 
being apprehended by the Northern people ; they were 
long ago appreciated by the people of the South. It 
was to found in a glorious land of promise the institu- 
tions of the South, to extend them to other inviting 
countries of Spanish America, and, on the doubly secured 
foundation of these institutions, and of military ideas 
of government, to build up the great tropical emphe of 
America. 

This great idea, I have reason to believe, was con- 
ceived in its fulness by WiUiam Walker. Regardless 
of the clamors of the world, he pursued, in reserve, 



112 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

though with a hurning spirit, the single ohject to which 
he devoted fortune, life, and honor. And while that 
world was regarding his expedition as a short-sighted 
and rapacious conquest, a mere raid, a vulgar seizure 
of a nation's territory, he, in secret, had undertaken one 
of the grandest schemes ever set a-foot in the "Western 
world. 

Crushed may be all the aspirations of one individual. 
But the idea of empu-e conceived hy an unfortunate 
leader can never die from the hearts of the South. Ever 
perpetuated, and ever living, it will seek its accomplish- 
ment on and on, perseveringly, and at the last irre- 
sistibly. This, dear C, is a serious truth ; and the 
American people, of all sections, of all countries, and 
of both continents, might as well accept the manifest 
destiny of a great, slave Southern empire in the tropics 
of the Western hemisphere. 

We have the strange, prophetic words of Walker him- 
self, when surrounded by his enemies, indicating the 
end, and prompting the Southern heart to its consum- 
mation. These words, dear C, I recite as those of a 
man, who, whatever the errors of his head, Avas yet a 
hero in liis heart. 

" In such a war as they are now v/aging against us, 
there can be but one result. They may destroy my 
whole force — a circumstance I deem almost or quite 
impossible ; they may kill every American now in 



BLACK DIAMONDS, 113 

Nicaragua ; but the seed is sown, and not all the forces 
of Spanish America can prevent the fruit from coming 
to maturity The more savage the nature of the war 
they wage against us, the more certain the result, the 
more terrible the consequences. I may not live to see 
the end, but I feel that my countrymen will not permit 
the result to be doubtful. I know that the honor and 
the interests of the great country, which, despite of the 
foreign service T am engaged in, I still love to call my 
own, are involved , in the present struggle. That honor 
must be preserved inviolate, and those interests must 
be jealously maintained. Nothing but our own sense 
.of the justice of the cause we are engaged in, and of 
its importance to the country of our birth, has enabled 
us to struggle on as far as we have done. We may 
perish in the work we have undertaken, and our cause 
may be for a time lost ; but if we fall, we feel it is in 
the path of honor. And what is life, or what is success, 
in comparison with the consciousness of having per- 
formed a duty, and of having co-operated, no matter 
how slightly, in the cause of improvement and progress!" 

Beautiful, glorious words ! 

They are the words of Southern heroism — uttered by 
a hero, and uttered by him wheii the storm was beat- 
ing darkest around the pathway he was then treading, 
and where his countrymen will seek his footsteps among 
the blood stains of the battle-field. 



114 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

The explanations contained in the quotation I have 
made, dear C, confirm and enlighten the assertion, that 
filibusterism or rapacity was not the original spirit of 
the Walker expedition. It was not to be supposed that 
the Americans would shed their blood in a foreign cause 
for naught ; they expected to acquire certain interests 
in Nicaragua, and a weight in the government ; and 
they might have hoped that, in time, their civilization 
and industry, would win a peaceful and natural triumph 
over native imbecility, and change the destiny of the 
country. Such expectations and hopes were perfectly 
legitimate ; but the result is hastening. The fickleness, 
the jealousy, the treachery, and the revolutionary spirit- 
of the Central American people, that deny our country- 
men the honors and rewards of a foreign service, and 
that would expel them from a country they have rescued 
from an internecine war, and baptized in their own 
blood, as saved for a higher destiny, can but tend to 
provoke and offer opportunities of just revenge to a spirit 
— call it filibustering if you will — not easily pacified, 
but active, invasive, persevering, and eventually to tri- 
umph, wherever it carries the Southern civilization and 
arras. 

Tm-n we, for a moment, dear C, to the concluding 
portion of the thrillmg language of soul-greatness that 
I have just quoted. How noble, heroic, and transcend- 
ental the sentiment that can hold life and personal sue- 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 115 

cess in such little estimation ! How eloquent, indeed, 
of that high and ravishing enthusiasm, which impels, 
animates, and sustains, the noble and chivalrous leaders 
of progress everywhere — which is superior to success ; 
which is nobly careless of human criticism ; and which 
is its own reward, whether it leave its memorial of 
greatnfess in the splendid monuments of fortune, or in 
the nameless grave of self-devotion. 

Truly yours, 

E. A. P. 

To D. M. C, Esq., New- York 



LETTER XI. 

Geeen Mountain, Va., 1858. 
My Dear C. : You have repeatedly rallied me on the 
evidences of my sympathy with some of the supersti- 
tions of the negro. You tempt me, in addition to the 
particular subject of our correspondence, to devote a few 
pages to the great subject, in which white nature and 
black nature are both interested — that of superstition. 
I propose to do so by telling you 

A CHRISTIAN GHOST STORY. 

I am intensely superstitious. It is one of the sweet- 
est consolations of 'my life to think that those who 
have perished from the earth may still stand about 



116 BLACK DIAMONDS. ' 

me — to think that they may watch over me in the 
darkened hour of contrition-:-to feel, when night gathers 
around me in the lonely chamber, that I can almost 
stretch forth my hand in the darkness to touch the 
features of the precious dead. The derisions of the 
world — the scoffing of the foolish- wise — the rebukes of 
the cold, dreary men of God, who measure the future 
state of the soyl by rules, and brand with their contempt 
the tender and precious superstitions that God has given 
us, shall not cheat me of my consolation. There is a 
superstition above the vulgar standard of science. 
There is a superstition founded on the mystery of 
nature, transcendental, tender, and altogether lovely — 
looking from earth to the beautiful sky of heaven, its 
silver stars, and the long, long homes in our Father's 
house. , 

I do not know, my dear C, whether, in the desultory 
recitations of my boyish life among the loved ones of the 
South, I have ever told you of the bright little sister so 
loved by all the negroes, and so petted by the old, black 
ones, who claimed her as their darling mistress. She 
was the light and the joy of them all. She cheered 
the dark lot of the poor slaves, by exhibiting to them 
her own innocent happiness, by reading them the con- 
solations of the Bible, by the ministrations of an angel 
Oh, there is no blasphemy in calling an angel of the 
earth her, whose youth and innocence, and gentle 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 117 

beauty came to brighten our dark home on the' mountain 
like golden sunshine falling from a parted cloud- 
But the angel on the earth had become an angel in 
heaven. Sweet Rosalie had died in her youth. Ah, how 
I remember the burial that so solemnly closed her forever 
from my human eyes! The gentle limbs of the precious 
dead were laid in the earth, when it was smiling with 
light and verdure, when the lambs were bleating in the 
meadow, and when Spring was hastening with its 
reviving kiss for nature, but its sweetest showers of 
tears in vain for the flower that had been plucked. It 
is needless to tell of the force of my affliction : that 
sorrow, at least is sacred. But year by year, my grief 
grew less and my love the more. 

It was in the days of my mourning that I first began 
to take into my heart those tender superstitions, that 
make the negro's religion, to my consciousness, to my 
soul, a truer religion than that preached from the thousand 
pulpits of the land. The old negroes told me of appari- 
tions of " their sweet chile," as they named my angel 
Rosalie, of seeing her in heaven, of meeting her spirit 
among the lonely trees at midnight. And I believed 
them all. I would steal away from the observa.tion of 
the white family, to listen with passionate and thrilling 
interest to the stories of dear Aunt Matilda, who told me 
how my little sister appeared to her in visions of the night, 
with the angel-children of the Redeemer — and how they 



118 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

rode through the air singing songs — and how the spirit of 
her young mistress had told her, that the brightest place 
in heaven was not for little children, but for " the long- 
time mourner." And then she would chant some of her 
curious hymns. In what a fervent and beseeching 
manner she would sing some lines, which I cannot now 
clearly recollect, but the repeated prayer of which 
was : 

" Swing low chariot ! Pray just let me in ! 
For I don't want to stay behind. 
Swing low chariot ! Pray just let me in ! 
For I don't want to stay here no longer." 

And there was another hymn of triumph and en- 
couragement : 

" Another little mourner strike Zion's hill! 
And I heard from heaven to-day ; 
Rise, mass'r, chmb the Mil ! 
For I heard from heaven to-day." 

Smile not, dear friend, at these rude chants of the 
poor negro. Examine them rather in your heart, and 
say if there is not nature's poetry in these untutored 
images ; " the chariot " of the Redeemer's glory sweeping 
by, to which the poor slave looks with passionate long- 
ing — and then the " climbing of the hill," and the word 
of encouragement "heard from heaven !" 

it is from the negro that I have learned my supersti- 
tions. It is the slave that has given me these precious 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 119 

consolations. It is he that has taught me and persuaded 
me that the spirits of those mourned as dead are with me 
still. .^ 

But to return to the story which I started to tell : 
One day Aunt Matilda told me, as was not unusual, 
that she had a message for me from my angel-sister. It 
was a curious message, unlike former ones of love and 
encouragement. The old woman delivered it with an 
ominous look, refusing to explain by a single word its 
meaning, which was hidden to my boyish sense, and 
yet awful in its impression. It was, that ".sAe was 
coming for we." Coming for me ! What did it mean ? 
Should I indeed see again my precious little sister, as 
the old slave had described her, with her golden locks 
clothing her in glittering beauty, and with " silver slip- 
pers on her feet !" For a long time my imagination 
dwelt upon the promise. 

And now, dear friend, believe me — oh, do not mock me, 
but believe me — when I tell you solemnly, and speaking 
from all the heart can feel of truth, that the promise has 
been kept ! 

Many, many years after the message had been given 
me by Aunt Matilda, when I had grown up to man- 
hood, and entered upon its serious years, I was taken 
down by a .memorable sickness. It was a long, weary 
sickness, to which my memory reverts with a shudder. 
I had lain for many weeks in a slow fever, and was 



120 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

reduced to a very critical state of weakness. Every- 
thing was kept still and solemn about my room. , 

One night, I was lying in restless, broken reveries. 
The lights, which had been withdrawn by my nurse into 
an adjoining room, left mine in an indistinct gloom, a 
darkness filled with shadows. I was in an uncertain 
state, neither asleep nor awake ; but in an indescribable 
sort of stupor. Suddenly, I felt myself curiously fail- 
ing. I can describe my sensation only as that of a 
sinking, like the running down of mechanism ; my 
mind falling away into a sort of lightness, then with 
unutterable terror grasping at consciousness, and then 
falling away deeper and deeper into the vagueness. 
I felt that I was dying. But I had no strength to call 
out. Further and further, I felt falling away, still 
grasping, clutching at ^consciousness, oh ! with what 
inconceivable agony. One terrible effort — one more 
wrestle of agony, and I felt a sudden, boundless free- 
dom, a sense of an unutterable expanse around me — an 
aerialness that human words cannot express. I was still 
in my chamber, but I seemed to touch nothing ; I felt 
an irrepressible lightness, and yet I was so keenly con- 
scious, that I could hear sounds that seemed to be far 
away over the hills, and floating up to the skies. 

A slight rustle by my side attracted me. I turned 
my eyes. Merciful Grod ! it was my angel, Rosalie, 
who stood there. Father in Heaven, it was thy mes- 
senger. There she stood in the darkened room, with a 



BLACK DIAMONDS. 121 

countenance as white and calm as death, no earthly 
beauty there, no smiles, but white, white, and yet a 
thousand times beautiful in the deep, passionless, Heaven- 
sealed peace of G-od's beloved. I could not speak to my 
darling. An awful restraint was upon me ; and when 
she beckoned to me, I followed, as if on air. All things 
seemed dissolving from me ; the earth appeared to be 
falling away into shadows. I felt as if encompassed by 
darkness, and treading through, it to an illimitable 
Beyond. 

Oh, the darkness is breaking at last ! The angel 
form before me, never turning as I have followed, is 
now OTowino^ brighter and more o-lorious. I see the 
great white radiance, to which her path leads up through 
the darlaiess. Oh, G-racious Father, is this the home 
of thy beloved ! I see dimly as .through a glass. But 
amid myriads of figm-es peopling this everlasting light, 
where no shadow ever falls, and no storms, no rent ban- 
ners in the sky, or wars, or " garments rolled in blood," 
are ever known — amid them all, I distinguish white 
figures advancing to meet me Who comes on in the 
the bright raiment of glory so swiftly and happily ? Who 
is she with the everlasting seal of peace upon her brow 
that comes to meet me ? Saviour, sweet Saviour, will 
you grant me this reunion also ! — for it is my mother 
that comes, it is my mother, reaching out her hands to 
the son that was lost ! 

I am standing on the confines of darkness, with one 



122 BLACK DIAMONDS. 

step from it into unutterable happiness. My darling, my 
angel, Rosalie, turns to me. A smile of Heaven now 
lights up her face ; a scarce repressed song seems to 
tremble on her lips. She stretches her tiny hand toward 
me. I seek to grasp it. But as I touch it, she starts, 
the whole scene rooks and falls before me into nothing- 
ness ; and I hear the voice of Rosalie sweetly, sadly, 
saying, '■^Alas, I thought you ivere deadV 

Was it a dream you ask — a nightmare broken and 
changing into a dreamer's ecstacy. Call it what you will, 
let the world use the cold sneering term of " a dream" 
to conceal its ignorance of the mysterious communings 
of the soul, let it congratulate itself upon the easy ex- 
planations of the wonders of Him, who worketh visions of 
the night. But the day comes, when the " dream" of 
life itself shall pass away, and we shall stand, as I 
solemnly believe, in the reality of what was revealed to 
us in the night, and in the darkened hours of our lives 
on earth. 

No, my Rosalie, not dead yet ; not ready yet to cross 
into the light everlasting ! But struggling on, consider- 
ing all things of this world lightly, bearing its insults 
and its goads, putting away its quarrels, looking up ever 
to the better day, suffering, worn and weary, I pray to 
my Saviour, that a 'broken family may be reunited at 
his Throne, and that there, as on earth, my beloved and 
I may praise him together. Yours truly, e. a. p. 

To D. M. C, Esq., New-York. 




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